ECN Wind Energy to Collaborate with Sandia National Laboratories


On March 31, 2011, the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and Sandia National Laboratories signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which both parties agree on future collaboration in the field of wind energy. Sandia Laboratories focuses on applied scientific research for national security in the U.S., with sustainable energy being one of their key research areas. In the field of wind energy Sandia works on many aspects of wind turbine design, but it has a longstanding history in rotor design with a focus on higher efficiency, reliability, and monitoring technique for optimizing operational management and maintenance to wind turbines.

The joint Sandia-ECN research will focus mainly on scaling up (offshore) wind turbines and developing so-called intelligent blades to further increase the yield of wind turbines, while reducing the mechanical loads. This enables lighter wind turbine designs, longer operating lives, and lower electricity production costs per kWh. Various wind turbine manufacturers have already shown interest in this development. Tests with this type of dynamic blades, which can be adjusted with respect to shape and/or aerodynamic characteristics depending on the operating conditions, can be conducted at the ECN test site in Wieringermeer or at the test site of Sandia in the U.S. Additionally, both Sandia and ECN are already involved in collaborations with Delft University of Technology in this research area. Further collaboration will also be started in the field of aerodynamic wind farm modelling and maintenance and operational management of offshore wind farms. The first concrete projects are expected to start this summer.

The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) is the largest research institute in the Netherlands in the field of energy and holds a strong international position. Go to Sandia National Laboratories is managed by Sandia Corporation—a full subsidiary of the Lockheed Martin Corporation—and constitute the most important national laboratories of the U.S. Department of Energy. Next to research on reliable and safe nuclear technology, Sandia’s mission is to secure the future energy system and to make it more sustainable. Visit online at