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The two branches of Fraunhofer IWES are to become independent institutes
Since its founding in 2009, the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES has grown to almost 600 employees. As part of their strategic development and alignment, both divisions of the institute have developed largely independent profiles. The Executive Board and Senate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have therefore decided to continue the branches of the institute as independent institutes as of January 2018: as IEE and IWES. For customers and industry partners, the sharpening of the profile will facilitate a clear allocation of activities.
Fraunhofer signed a joint letter of intent in Lisbon yesterday with FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia), the Portuguese research funding agency. The letter lays out plans to advance the digitalization of agriculture and forestry, including using digital technologies to manage agricultural and forest areas more precisely and sustainably. A joint task force will be set up to develop potential application areas and scenarios.
Inspecting rotor blades with thermography and acoustic monitoring
Wind turbines have a design life of 20 years. The rotor blades must be regularly inspected at least once every four years to verify their structural integrity. This type of work is performed by industrial climbers. But the problem with inspecting offshore installations is that access is only possible when wind and weather conditions permit. This makes it very difficult to plan inspection visits. In the Thermoflight research project, Fraunhofer scientists are working together with industrial and research partners to investigate alternative inspection methods. The use of offshore drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras in combination with acoustic monitoring systems could potentially improve maintenance efficiency and help reduce downtime.