Within an ERC starting grant award on the topic of “Smart Monitoring, Inspection and Life-Cycle Assessment of Wind Turbines”, the chair of structural mechanics is leading a comprehensive measurement campaign on a field wind turbine in Winterthur, Switzerland.

The selected case-study is a wind turbine designed and manufactured by Aventa AG. It features a rotor diameter of 12.9m at a rated power of 6.5kW, and stands on an 18m circular concrete tower. With the purpose of monitoring the structural condition and current/future performance of the system, the measurement campaign involves the installation of low cost and easily deployable sensors and corresponding data acquisition systems on the tower, nacelle and blades. The sensors’ suit includes accelerometers, tilt-meters and strain gauges, along with tracking of operational and environmental data, and will comprise a mix of tethered and wireless technologies. Aventa AG, represented by Mr. Ueli Spalinger, has offered valuable access to the geometric (CAD Drawings) and further mechanical and structural properties of the wind turbine, which will facilitate fusion with physics-based models (Finite Element and aero-elastic simulations), and comparison to the actually measured response. Vibration-based identification methods will be employed as the main analysis tool, for assessing the condition of the system and obtaining insights on the current performance and margin for improvement of not only this particular case-study, but Wind Turbine systems at large. This thoroughly instrumented case study will serve as a benchmark, with datasets made available to the academic and research communities.

The outcome of the study (ERC-2015-StG #679843) forms part of the broader scope of the ERC WINDMIL project where novel methods and tools are devised for smart data harnessing, interpretation and management for optimal life-cycle assessment of these assets with the purpose of increasing safety, performance and sustainability of this renewable energy technology.


Aventa wind turbine, with blades wireless sensors, tower MEMS accelerometers and DAQ.

The ESC member involved in this project is Prof. Dr. Eleni Chatzi from the Chair of Structural Mechanics. Other researchers involved are Dr. Imad Abdallah, Dr. Vasilis Dertimanis, Harry Mylonas, Konstantinos Tatsis as well as Mr. Ueli Spalinger from Aventa AG.