Skip to main content

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).

 Photo of large blue and red test machinery with a man looking up at it.

Capabilities

  • 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.

Specifications

A photo of a 225-kW dynamometer in a testing room.

225-kW Dynamometer

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 photo of a 1.5-MW drivetrain being tested on a 2.5-MW dynamometer.

2.5-MW Dynamometer

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.

A photo of a 5.0-MW dynamometer in a testing room.

5.0-MW Dynamometer

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.