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Great success for Leibniz University Hannover: DFG approves two new collaborative research centres

Great success for Leibniz University Hannover: DFG approves two new collaborative research centres

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The digital twin is an individual simulation model of an actual turbine.

Approximately 18 million euros of funding for planning tomorrow’s offshore wind turbines as well as for recording climate change processes with unmatched accuracy

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved the collaborative research centres "Offshore Megastructures" and "TerraQ", which are led by Leibniz University Hannover. Prof. Dr. Volker Epping, President of LUH, is delighted about this outcome: "The approval of the new collaborative research centres is a great success for Leibniz University Hannover and illustrates the excellent performance of our researchers in many different fields. The successful acquisition of collaborative research centres also increases the international visibility of LUH. I would like to thank all those involved for their outstanding commitment and their exceptional work."

The collaborative research centre "Offshore Megastructures" will develop new concepts for tomorrow''s offshore wind turbines. The centre intends to make a significant contribution towards ensuring a successful energy transition. Tomorrow''s turbines will be considerably larger: more than 300 metres in height and equipped with rotor blades measuring over 280 metres in diameter. These turbines will be affected by little-known variables, such as wind conditions prevailing in heights exceeding 100 metres. Due to their dimensions and the delicate construction required, environmental conditions as well as interactions between individual components will become more relevant. Established methods for designing and operating wind turbines cannot be applied to constructions of this size. The collaborative research centre focuses on physical and methodological foundations, based on the concept of a digital twin. A digital twin is an individual simulation model for developing an integrated planning concept for designing and operating such constructions.

In order to manage future wind farms, precise information about the condition and dynamic behaviour of the support structure and the rotor blades must be collected over the entire working life of each turbine, as well as information regarding the effects of changing environmental or operating conditions. Generally, conventional simulation models are identical for all turbines within a wind farm and focus on their load-bearing capacity. In contrast, additional aspects such as production, installation, operation or recycling are usually not paramount.

By means of the digital twin, the researchers of the collaborative research centre will develop a method that incorporates all of these details. The digital twin is a linked overall model of a specific wind turbine, which uses measurement data to illustrate the current condition of the actual structure (the actual twin). The resulting simulation models describe individual existing turbines over their entire working life and can be adapted depending on current conditions.

"By using a digital twin, tomorrow''s wind turbines can be designed and operated in a safe, economic and sustainable manner", explains Professor Rolfes from Leibniz University Hannover, who acts as spokesperson of the collaborative research centre. Compared to current models, such turbines could generate electricity more efficiently, while providing a more continuous supply of electricity. In terms of output, they could be installed in a more time-efficient manner while reducing maintenance costs.

Led by Leibniz University Hannover, the collaborative research centre 1463 "Integrated design and operating methodology for offshore megastructures" comprises four research facilities. In addition to LUH, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg as well as the German Aerospace Center and TU Dresden are involved in the project. Overall, researchers from ten LUH institutes are involved, including members of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geodetic Science, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Most of the involved institutes at Leibniz University Hannover and Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg already conduct joint research within the scope of the research collaboration ForWind. The project will be realised between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2024 and could be extended until 2032. Funding amounts to approximately 8.5 million euros.

Collaborative research centre TerraQ develops new quantum-based methods for measuring the gravitational field of the Earth

The force of gravity is no statistic quantity. Changes in mass distribution - such as sea or groundwater level variations - result in very small changes of the gravitational field. These changes can be measured and therefore mirror climatically relevant processes in a unique manner. However, there is still much to learn about the underlying processes. Moreover, existing measuring concepts and sensors for determining variations of the gravitational field only achieve an insufficient space-time resolution. Within the scope of the collaborative research centre TerraQ, a research consortium led by Leibniz University Hannover intends to develop new quantum-based methods for such measurements in space as well as on Earth, designed to deliver an unmatched accuracy. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will provide approximately 9.6 million euros of funding for the project, prospectively until 2024.

TerraQ brings together about 60 researchers from geodesy and physics who aim to develop novel measuring techniques, sensors and analytical methods. "Our aim is to improve gravimetric Earth observation, while making an essential contribution to climatology resulting in immense effects in the entire field of Earth Sciences", explains Professor Jürgen Müller from the Institute of Geodesy at Leibniz University Hannover, spokesperson of TerraQ.

At this stage, the varying distance between two satellites orbiting the Earth on a low course can be measured precisely, providing globally accurate data on the Earth''s gravitational force and its time-related variations - and therefore its mass variations, which are key indicators for climate change processes. Among other things, the TerraQ researchers will develop laser-based systems that will be able to conduct such distance measurements within the Earth''s orbit with unmatched accuracy. Furthermore, the team investigates quantum sensors to be used on Earth in order to conduct fast and precise gravimetric measurements recording small-scale processes, such as groundwater reservoir variations. These development activities include compact, mobile devices for measuring campaigns in particularly promising geographic areas, as well as large, stationary devices with an extremely high level of precision. Moreover, atomic clocks will be used to determine the gravitational field - a groundbreaking measuring approach in geodesy. For this purpose, the researchers will utilise properties defined in Einstein''s theory of relativity.

The collaborative research centre 1464 "TerraQ - Relativistic and quantum-based geodesy" comprises the following research facilities: Leibniz University Hannover, the DLR Institute for Satellite Geodesy and Inertial Sensing Hannover, PTB Braunschweig, the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity Bremen, the German Research Centre for Geosciences Potsdam, HCU Hamburg and Graz University of Technology. The project is led by Leibniz University Hannover. LUH is represented by the Institute of Geodesy, the Institute of Gravitational Physics and the Institute of Quantum Optics. The project will be realised between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2024 and could be extended until 2032.


Note to editors

For further information, please contact the spokesperson of the relevant collaborative research centre.
For "Offshore Megastructures": Prof. Dr.-Ing. Raimund Rolfes, Institute of Structural Analysis at Leibniz University Hannover (Tel. +49 511 762 2992, Email r.rolfes@isd.uni-hannover.de)
For "TerraQ": Dr.-Ing. habil. Jürgen Müller, Institute of Geodesy (Tel. +49 511 762 3362, Email mueller@ife.uni-hannover.de)