Kurz-Interview (engl.) mit Thierry Marchal, ANSYS Industry Director

Windfair: Is the wind energy industry a priority for your company? How so?

Thierry Marchal: Yes, this is a priority as is Renewable Energy in general. This area still needs a lot of progress to become cost effective compared to other traditional sources of energy. Therefore, many companies around the world are extensively using engineering simulation to quickly improve its performance. Several illustrations of this could be found on ansys.com

Windfair: How many employees does your company have?

Thierry Marchal: 1700

Windfair: How many dedicated to Wind Energy?

Thierry Marchal: This is truly impossible to say as about 500 of our employees are continuously working on the development of the codes that will be used, among others to design new more performing wind turbines. of course this software is also used for different applications such as improving the sustainability of traditional sources of energy.

Windfair: Do you have any new or upcoming wind energy products or services?

Thierry Marchal: Every year, we are releasing a new, more advanced version of our core software that could be used to better model wind energy. The next version, ANSYS 14.0 that will be released at the end of 2011 will include advanced coupling between structural and CFD analysis important to investigate the deformations of the blades experiencing heavy wind; significant improvement to the solver to run simulations faster, the first deployment of Robust Design Optimization to take into account uncertainties that inevitable occur during the manufacturing system etc.

Windfair: Do you have any special training programs for your employees?

Thierry Marchal: Not really as the standard codes are general enough to be used for this specific application. However, we are continuously learning from our interaction with our clients involved in the wind energy so that we could maintain a list of prioritized requests for future developments that would be especially crucial for this industry.

Windfair: Tell us about your future developments. What can we expect in the next year or two?

Thierry Marchal: I already unveiled above what our clients could expect in the next 6 months. But our vision is to move towards a completely integrated virtual system in which the users will be able to optimize the design of the equipment, to maximize its efficiency possibly even in a given landscape. Pre run simulations should be able to suggest the best orientation and performances of the device considering current weather conditions and adjust itself automatically.
Product integrity throughout the whole life cycle of the wind turbine would be extremely important. By building a virtual model of the device in its own specific environment, various tests will be done easily to ensure customer satisfaction will be ever met and device not damaged despite possibly extreme situations (hurricane, hearth quake etc.).
We all know that the material properties always slightly vary around an average value; same applies to dimensions and operating conditions. The accumulation of these slight variations can sometimes lead to a significant decrease of performances or even dramatic events. We envision that within a few years these uncertainties will be included in the models so that performances will be optimized in any circumstances and that systematic virtual prototyping and virtual testing will very significantly improve the robustness of the energy solution and further minimize the small impact it still has on the environment. Most of this technology is already available and just need a more systematic deployment.
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