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Delegates are invited to meet and discuss with the poster presenters in this topic directly after the session 'Advanced drive trains technologies' taking place on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 16:30-18:00. The meet-the-authors will take place in the poster area.

Pieter Jan Jordaens Sirris, Belgium

(1) Sirris, Heverlee, Belgium

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Presenter's biography

Biographies are supplied directly by presenters at EWEA 2014 and are published here unedited

Pieter Jan graduated as a Master of Science in engineering (Msc) in the field of Electro-mechanical engineering at the Group T-International University College Leuven.
Next to this Master study he joined an International Postgraduate Program in Entrepreneurial Engineering to acquire competences for large-scale projects in the field of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Engineering.
He joined Sirris, the collective center of the Belgian technological industry, in 2010 initially as a project leader.
Since then Pieter Jan is full time working on setting up the Offshore Wind Infrastructure Application Lab (OWI-Lab).


Extreme cold start-up validation of a wind turbine gearbox by the use of a large climatic test chamber


Wind turbines are more frequently installed in remote areas where park owners are not affected by the ‘not in my backyard’ syndrome. Very often such sites have profitable wind conditions which makes them attractive to implement turbines, but some of these locations also have to deal with extreme cold or hot climatic conditions (below -40°C, up to +55°C). A large amount of remote located turbine are installed at sites affected by extreme temperatures which in the worst case noticeably affect the turbine availability and its business case if components fail or don’t work efficient due to these extreme conditions.


OEM’s and component suppliers are more aware that extreme temperature events and its effects on their machines need to be taken into account. In order to substantiate confidence in its designs, validation tests are necessary to gain insights in the behavior and performance in extreme conditions. ZF Wind Power Antwerp NV, a leading gearbox manufacturer, is also aware of the benefit to validate its gearboxes in extreme temperature conditions. In order to do so, the company teamed up with OWI-Lab which invested in a large climatic test chamber capable to test gearboxes in a temperature range of -40°C / +50°C.

Main body of abstract

Controlled laboratory tests have been carried out at OWI-Lab on a 2.2MW wind turbine gearbox in order to validate the cold start-up behavior and cold start-up time of the machine in -40°C conditions. A test bench has been developed in partnership, capable to test gearboxes up to 10MW in extreme cold and hot temperatures, which allows to analyze the effect of extreme temperatures on the gearbox functioning. For example during start-up of a wind turbine after idling in cold conditions, the rotating elements in a gearbox can be at risk because of insufficient lubrication and/or differential thermal expansion of its components. Lubricants become viscous and too stiff due to extreme cold, affecting oil flows in the gearbox and putting exceptional load on the pumping equipment and other auxiliaries mounted on a wind turbine gearbox system. On the other hand, cooling system can experience overheating problems during extreme heat in the case of hot climatic conditions. These potential failure modes illustrate the requirement for qualitative engineering of the lubrication mechanism, thermal management system and appropriate control strategy in case of cold start-up events. Validating these systems in a controlled environment has been performed by ZF Wind Power Antwerp NV. The test methodology and lessons learned regarding operations at extreme cold temperature operations, cold start-up torque and start-up time will be described in this work in order to underline the need for extreme temperature testing in the validation process.


Wind turbines sometimes need to operate in remote locations with hostile environments. Extreme temperature conditions can affect the turbines availability and profitability. Also wind turbine gearboxes are affected by extreme temperatures and have potential failures modes because of such events. A dedicated test rig able to deal with extreme temperature validation tests on gearboxes has been designed and used at OWI-Lab’s test facility to perform cold-start up runs under extreme temperatures. The test bench is used to verify the capability of a 2MW gearbox to withstand a shutdown event and subsequent return into service in extreme cold climate conditions.

Learning objectives
The paper will recognize the importance of cold climate conditions and their effect on wind turbine components, in particular the gearbox. The study will gain insights in the behavior of a gearbox in extreme low temperatures, its cold start-up performance and potential failure modes which have to be taken into account during design. The industry will be made aware of the existence of a dedicated test facility to cope with extreme temperature testing.