Dynamometer Test Facilities
Dynamometers test wind turbine drivetrains by replacing the rotor and blades of a turbine with a powerful motor. The National Wind Technology Center features dynamometers that can test wind turbine systems from 1 kilowatt (kW) to 5 megawatts (MW).
- Perform steady-state testing to determine a turbine's "power curve": how its electrical production relates to the input mechanical energy
- Conduct highly accelerated life tests, intentionally overloading the turbine to help determine its useful operating lifetime
- Employ "model-in-the-loop" techniques to emulate rotor, tower, pitch, and yaw systems with computer simulations operating in real time
Capabilities specific to the larger dynamometers:
- The 2.5-MW and 5-MW dynamometers can apply nontorque loads, including radial and thrust forces.
- The 5-MW dynamometer can apply yaw or pitch moments of up to 7.2 millinewton-meters.
- The 5-MW dynamometer can connect to the controllable grid interface to provide a better understanding of how wind turbines react to grid disturbances.
Ideal for smaller turbines, this dynamometer employs a 300-horsepower variable-speed induction motor, with AC grid connections of 120, 240, and 480 volts (V) and a maximum apparent power of 250 kilovolt-amperes (kVA). It can also simulate battery charging at 0–216 V DC and a maximum apparent power of 20 kVA.
A practical size for most of today's land-based wind turbines, the 2.5-MW dynamometer features a 3,351-horsepower (hp), 415-amp AC induction motor with variable-frequency drive that can connect to the grid at 575, 600, 690, and 4,160 V AC.
Useful for offshore wind turbines and future land-based turbines, the 5.0-MW dynamometer features an 8,000-hp AC induction with variable-frequency drive that can connect to the grid at 13,200 V AC. See the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's fact sheet on this relatively new dynamometer.
See the NWTC's dynamometer spec sheet for more detailed specifications for each dynamometer.