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Dynamometer Research Facilities

The National Wind Technology Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory features dynamometers that can perform research validation on wind turbine drivetrains from 1 kW to 5 MW.

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

Dynamometers validate wind turbine drivetrains by replacing the rotor and blades of a turbine with a powerful motor. 

Capabilities

Overall capabilities include the ability to:

  • Perform steady-state research validation to determine a drivetrain's "power curve": how its electrical production relates to the mechanical energy input
  • Conduct highly accelerated life research validation, intentionally overloading the drivetrain 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
  • Apply secondary forces and moments other than the primary, driving torque or force
  • Connect to the controllable grid interface to provide a better understanding of how drivetrains 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-hp variable-speed induction motor with a variable-frequency drive and AC grid connections of 120 V, 240 V, and 480 V. 

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-hp, AC induction motor with a variable-frequency drive, and 480 V, 690 V, and 13,200 V AC grid connections.

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

5-MW Dynamometer

Useful for offshore wind turbines and future land-based turbines, the 5-MW dynamometer features an 8,000-hp AC induction motor with a variable-frequency drive and 480 V, 690 V, and 13,200 V AC grid connections. 

See the Dynamometer Specifications at the National Wind Technology Center for more details about each dynamometer.