Architecture creating framework for research

Technical University of Denmark

The intersection of sky, inlet, and wide horizons means that DTU’s Risø Campus is a place where it is almost impossible not to think big thoughts. The beautiful new building that practically exudes raw natural spirit has done nothing but elevate the opportunities the location offers. By bringing together all research in the field of materials science into one building instead of three different outposts, new synergies have been created across the laboratories.

“Our new facilities emphasize the importance of DTU’s Risø Campus as the place to be when conducting wind energy research, which is a vital part of the green transition. We have upgraded our laboratories and have noticed what a boost it has been to our research. When you move through the building from the fibre lab through the micro lab to the testing lab, it’s clear that users’ needs have been integrated into this building,” says Tom Løgstrup Andersen, Chief Development Engineer at DTU Wind.

Good conditions are also appealing to current and future students. It is important that students feel the buzz at Risø. In 2030, the two MSc programmes Sustainable Energy and Wind Energy will transfer to the DTU Risø Campus.

Award-winning building in a stunning natural setting

The building has received the 2022 Building of the Year award in the “Business” category, precisely because the building is more than just the sum of its parts. In its citation, the Building of the Year jury stressed that the building gives more to society than the structure itself.

“We are proud that DTU’s new Material Lab 171 has received a distinguished prize such as Building of the Year. The building and its new facilities are part of the realization of the plans we have for DTU’s Risø Campus. We have succeeded in creating a facility that supports research in the field of Wind Energy, which is the trademark of DTU’s Risø Campus. Not to mention that the building is such a beautiful complement to its surroundings,” says Claus Nielsen, University Director.

Research at the forefront

Risø is playing an important role in wind energy research, which requires the space and opportunity to experiment. At Material Lab 171, researchers and technicians are helping to develop, optimize, and deliver quality assurance in the field of wind energy. They are focusing on material science and how the materials used to manufacture wind turbine blades can be best utilized. When a blade weighing more than 50 tonnes is able to spin and generate vital renewable energy, this is partly thanks to the fact that DTU Wind researchers have tested, developed, and examined the durability of the materials for more than 40 years.

Given that wind power is one of the most important energy sources of the future, development is going to be accelerated. At present, the laboratories are examining—among other things—the turbine blades from the world’s oldest offshore wind farm at Vindeby off the island of Lolland. Researchers and technicians at Risø are focusing on how well the blades have coped with 25 years of hard work. This knowledge will be used to improve future wind turbine production and improve their durability. Another important element in future wind technology is the ability to reuse materials taken from blades. While the energy generated by wind farms may be green, the manufacturing process for the turbines themselves also needs to be fully sustainable.

Research taking place in the wind energy field may be about the tiniest details on the biggest blades, but common to both is that knowledge is vital at the highest level and that the impact on the green transition is significant. That means that under the right conditions, DTU Wind can continue to be a unique, leading research environment.

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