A Forward Wind

You can reach Frank Kortenstedde at the Institute of Aerospace Technology (IAT) of the City University of Applied Sciences, Wind Turbines Department in Bremen. This is where he and his team started researching wind energy converters, until 2014 developing the flow element “SplitFlap”. “SplitFlap” allows an aero dynamical optimisation as well as the improvement of torque value and gain of the wind turbines. Soon, Bremeninvest took on the support of the pilot project “Retrofits”, followed by the founding of evoblade. The company joined with the Deutsche Windtechnik AG to further develop the invention. After that, Frank and companions came to kraftwerk. This is the background so far.

How are things today? First of all, the project has been re-named “EvoFlap”, thus also mentioning the company. What else? The team has changed: “Benjamin and Andreas, formerly partners and shareholders, left due to lack of time.” Frank has four new employees: Tim Strohbach, mechanical engineer in aerospace technology as well as industrial engineer, is supported by Adrian Lühr. Being an IT specialist and mechanical engineer, Adrian is responsible for the development of measuring techniques concerning wind field and quadrocopter. Johannes Meyer works as a research associate at the Institute of Aerospace Technology and is an expert concerning flow simulation, aerodynamics, and fibre composites. “We all have met and worked together at the Institute, so it was a perfect match”, Frank is pleased. The fourth team member Katrin Gerth manages the company’s finance and controlling. In addition, the swb Erzeugung AG & Co. KG decided on a takeover of a minority holding.

evoblade would like to prove that there is even more to gain out of existing installments by equipping rotor blades with the flow element “EvoFlap”. This would be a pilot project, it could be tested in a reference plant. Until then, some final facts have to be clarified, tests must be completed, results have to be analysed. “We need to see to an optimal installation, which has to be quick and simple.” Besides, there are production issues. „Should we have the element form milled by a 3D milling machine, or would it be better to work with an excellent carpenter and have it made by hand? This is what we are presently trying to find out.” Technical finesse, data synchronisation, control of results, manufacturing, installation, and distribution – this is a long list of things to think about. Frank laughs. “Yes, it surely takes its time, but is still fun and exciting.”

Britta Poppe is responsible for project development wind energy onshore at swb CREA GmbH, and she is getting nervous. From her point of view, this is a little too slow. Even after the sponsorship has expired, she supervises evoblade with great enthusiasm as a tutor. But she would like to see a little more “drive” and entrepreneurial spirit, she says. “We have to get together and advance the pilot project, the reference plant.” Her impatience has nothing to do with dissatisfaction, on the contrary: You can feel her passion and how committed she is to the project through the telephone. “I admire Frank and his ability to start from the beginning and work his way to the top, to stick with it. It means power – and only power brings you forward. This goes for business as well as private life.”

And things are moving ahead. With the aero dynamical development finished, market launch is planned for 2018 – finally: after four years of intense work. Interested companies are already lining up. “There is especially one energy provider we have been in contact with since 2016. As soon as we get our results, we might equip no less than six of his plants.” This is how it goes in the technical sector. The main thing you need is – air.