News from AAU Energy

Fiber ropes will pave the way for wind turbines of more than 200 meters

Fiber ropes will pave the way for wind turbines of more than 200 meters

As wind turbines get bigger and bigger, equipment to set up and hoist the turbines must of course keep up. A new project supported with more than nine million DKK by the Danish Energy Agency's Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) will make it possible to hoist more than 200-meter-high wind turbines by using fiber ropes instead of steel wires. AAU Energy in Esbjerg will contribute knowledge about the durability of the fiber rope, including the use of artificial intelligence and electronic monitoring.

Higher wind turbines produce more power, partly because they have access to stronger and more stable winds and thus also have a greater energy efficiency, but it also requires that equipment for installation and maintenance of the large turbines is included. One solution is, e.g., to use a so-called fiber rope, which is produced from a special type of polyethylene instead of traditional steel wires in the crane systems that are used in the work of hoisting the wind turbines. Fiber ropes weigh significantly less and can lift more than steel wires, but there is a lack of knowledge about the safety and durability of fiber ropes.

In an EUDP-supported project, researchers at AAU Energy in Esbjerg will, e.g., make it possible to calculate fatigue in fiber ropes, explains Associate Professor Petar Durdevic:

 - We monitor the strength of the fiber rope using artificial intelligence and machine vision. In this way we can develop an algorithm that can estimate the condition and durability of the rope and its service lifetime.

More specifically, researchers are using cameras to scan the fiber rope. The images are analyzed in real time, thus providing a very accurate and detailed monitoring of the rope. The technology also supports an increasing need for preventive maintenance, where the need for repair and maintenance is predicted before equipment breaks down.

- When we know even more about the durability of the fiber rope, which depends on e.g., the rope's thickness, temperature and exposure to UV light, we can define an appropriate safety factor for fiber rope for cranes and thus determine its load capability. This is crucial to determine the suitability of using fiber ropes to hoist giant wind turbines, says Petar Durdevic.

The project is a collaboration between AAU Energy in Esbjerg, the fiber rope company Dynamica Ropes and the crane company Liftra.

- This is an important contribution to mature the wind turbine technology further and thus make it possible to establish larger and more energy-efficient wind turbines. Using fiber ropes in our crane systems will make it cheaper to install and maintain high wind turbines, especially in hard-to-reach areas such as mountain areas, but it will also open up for installing high turbines in e.g., Africa, explains Per Fenger, CEO of Liftra.

The project is expected to be completed in 2025.

Briefly about the project:

Enabling the use of fiber rope in crane solutions for high wind turbines. In this project, Liftra ApS, Dynamica Ropes ApS and Aalborg University will enable the use of fiber ropes in crane solutions for high wind turbines. The project will demonstrate the use of fiber ropes and a machine learning monitoring system integrated in one of Liftra's crane solutions. The machine vision system allows visual real-time tracking of damage developments throughout the rope life cycle, which is currently performed periodically by technicians. The project is supported with DKK 9,567,602 from EUDP.


For further information, please contact:

  • Associate Professor at AAU Energy in Esbjerg, Petar Durdevic, mobile: +45 3175 1320, e-mail:
  • CEO of Liftra, Per Fenger, mobile: +45 2244 6917, e-mail:
  • Press contact: Communication employee at AAU Energy, Hanne Munk Madsen, telephone: +45 9940 3313, e-mail: