BruWind gathers several research groups in Brussels active in the field of wind energy. Its research program covers various aspects of modern wind turbine technology. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Erasmushogeschool Brussel and l’Université Libre de Bruxelles have set the objective to take a leading position in the field of research on wind energy in Belgium. An important instrument for achieving this goal is the launch of BruWind .
In the foreseeable future wind energy will make the biggest contribution to the growth of renewable energy in the European electricity sector. Over 100 GW of offshore wind projects are being planned. If executed, these projects will produce 10% of the EU’s electricity whilst avoiding 200 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. The cost of producing offshore wind energy is at present on average 2 times higher than on land. Studies have shown that the operation and maintenance of offshore wind turbines represent about 25 to 30% of these costs and that a substantial amount of these additional costs is caused by unexpected failures.
Within BruWind a strong research focus will therefore lie on cost reduction by increasing the availability and reliability of wind turbines, by optimizing the management of wind farms, and by improving technologies for the construction of offshore wind turbines. On a smaller scale compared to the big offshore turbines, researchers within BruWind also investigate the possible use of small wind turbines within the city. Urban environments are however at first sight not very interesting for wind turbines, as the little wind in the city is usually very variable both in speed and wind direction. This makes harvesting the energy from the wind rather difficult. Yet it is in principle possible to design the shape of buildings and residential blocks to ensure that the wind is channeled to places where wind turbines can be placed. Additionally, Brussels has many tall buildings, where the wind conditions are often excellent.
Therefore, researchers within BruWind , along with the architectural firm Amaay and the Von Karman Institute are seriously exploring the possibilities for giving wind power a place in our city. This initiative will run under the name WinCity Brussels.
In order to maximize the output of these research topics and to share the knowledge at a high scientific and technological level, BruWind was launched. Through the participation in European networks BruWind also intends to facilitate cooperation with other international research groups. Enhancing cooperation with the Belgian industry is also high on the agenda permitting us to close the gap between the industry needs and the academic research.
Finally BruWind also wants to increase the visibility of the ongoing research within the Brussels research institutions, not only towards other research centers and industry but also towards the general public.
B-PHOT contributes to BruWind with its micro-structured optical fibre sensor technology that will be used for structural health monitoring and reliability assessment purposes in windturbines.
For more information about BruWind , visit http://www.bruwind.eu