You are here

ZF Wind Power builds Test & Prototype Center in Flanders

More and more countries are adding a substantial share of wind energy to their energy mix. To meet the rapidly growing demand for wind energy solutions, ZF Wind Power – a business unit of the German ZF Group – is investing in a cutting-edge and record-breaking Test & Prototype Center in Lommel, Flanders. Construction officially kicked off on 10 January 2023. Thanks to EUR 2 million in financial support from the government of Flanders, the new center will accelerate the shift from climate-damaging fuels to clean and renewable energy and stimulate international collaborations.

A test rig for the record books

To reduce the levelized cost of energy, wind industry players all want the same thing: wind turbines with the highest annual power output at the most competitive cost. This has practical implications for the development of gearboxes, which regulate rotation speed and improve efficiency in wind turbine systems. As such, there’s a rapid increase in torque requirements. For example, these requirements already exceed 8,000 kilonewton meters (kN-m) for new onshore developments. And for offshore projects, that number even doubles. 

Needless to say, an innovative and tech-driven solutions provider like ZF Wind Power continuously aims to increase the torque levels of the gearboxes and powertrains it develops. To achieve just that, testing and validation are key. That’s where the investment project in Flanders comes in. At ZF’s Lommel-based site, which houses the German company’s core knowhow and expertise in wind gearbox innovation and validation, a brand-new 30 MW test rig will be installed. But this is no ordinary rig: according to ZF, upon completion, it will be the largest test rig in the world.

Operational by 2024

With a total length of 60 meters, the new rig will be used to test the dynamic behavior of the main bearings, the gearbox and the generator on the system level under real conditions. Scheduled to be operational by 2024, it will be the beating heart of ZF Wind Power’s Test & Prototype Center in Flanders. 

Moreover, the record-breaking test rig will secure the company’s position in the wind energy market for decades to come. “Testing not only allows us to contain industry-specific risks,” says Martin Knops, CTO at ZF Wind Power. “It’s also essential to receive approval from customers, insurers and certification agencies to launch new designs. That’s precisely why we started installing this rig: to extend our portfolio.”

Developing our Test & Prototype Center allows us to expand our offering from modular wind gearbox platforms to complete powertrain systems. In tandem with our partners and customers, we are empowering a sustainable future together.

Felix Henseler
CEO of ZF Wind Power

With support from Flanders

“In addition to securing ZF Wind Power’s future portfolio, our ground-breaking investment in Flanders also helps strengthen the European industrial base in a strategic sector,” adds ZF Group CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider. Indeed, the new Flanders-based Test & Prototype Center unlocks the necessary potential for next-generation turbines. This will be crucial for the success of the global energy transition.

We are grateful to develop this center with support from the government of Flanders.

Wolf-Henning Scheider
CEO of ZF Group

The fact that ZF Wind Power chooses Flanders for its Test & Prototype Center pays testimony to the region’s strong R&D and innovation track record. Meanwhile, Flanders’ longstanding expertise in wind energy solutions, for both offshore and onshore applications, only adds to the benefits for ZF.

Caroline Levrau
Deputy Director Inward Investment at Flanders Investment & Trade

More info

ZF Wind Power
Reported by
press release ZF
10 January 2023

More news about Flanders?

  • Regular updates
  • No spam

Interested in doing business in Flanders?

Let us help you!

  • We can introduce you to other companies, banks and regulators
  • We organize site visits to real estate locations
  • We assist with all legal aspects of setting up a business
  • We're an official government agency
  • Our services are completely free
  • We are a team of international experts

Receive our handbook to growing your business in Flanders

  • It's completely free.
  • Get an overview of all incentives relevant to your company.
  • Tax system explained in-depth.
  • Learn how to set up your business quickly.
  • Discover the benefits of Flanders (in addition to the chocolate).

In addition to the ebook, I agree to receive one or two follow-up emails