A whispering gale: A company in Bremerhaven is conducting research into the optimum shape and surface characteristics of wind turbine rotor blades using a large but very quiet wind tunnel. Deutsche WindGuard GmbH works for all the leading manufacturers.
A breezy job
Nicholas Balaresque has a turbulent job. All around his workplace, the air is moving at up to 360 kilometres per hour. The 38-year-old is in charge of a large wind tunnel in Bremerhaven that is unique in Europe. It belongs to Deutsche WindGuard GmbH, and it helps the wind power industry to optimise the shape and surface characteristics of its rotor blades. The results of the tests carried out by Balaresque, a qualified engineer, form an important basis for the utilisation of wind energy. Turbine manufacturers from across Europe make use of these services. “Specialisation has enabled us to develop our highly sought-after expertise,” says Nicholas Balaresque.
Ten years since the move to Bremerhaven
Considering its importance to the industry, the WindGuard building looks rather modest in between the large logistics centres on the outskirts of the Bremerhaven container terminal. The only feature of note is the windowless extension, which is about four times the size of the research institute’s office wing. Right next to it stands a two megawatt wind turbine. This is the reason why Deutsche WindGuard, which is actually headquartered in Varel in Lower Saxony, set up in Bremerhaven ten years ago.
Back then the company was looking for a location for a highly specialised, very quiet, large wind tunnel for the aerodynamic and acoustic optimisation of rotor blades. The existing wind tunnel centre in Varel was not able to accommodate this. “We wanted to run the new wind tunnel with electricity generated by a wind turbine,” Balaresque remembers. “The conditions in Bremerhaven were ideal.