Windpark im Meer


Nose to the wind

Stiff breezes along the coast are a challenge for wind turbines. Engineer Sönke Siegfriedsen developed a system to protect offshore wind energy facilities from corrosive sea air.

Sönke Siegfriedsen’s first wind turbine was made of old spare car parts and stood on the roof of Lübeck University of Applied Sciences, where he studied physical engineering in the late 1970s. His system had an output of just 0.5 kilowatts but was so loud that the student was not allowed to operate it during class hours. The young engineer could not get wind power out of his mind. At the age of 26, he started his own company called Aerodyne. This made him one of the first in Germany to advocate for offshore wind energy, in 1998.

Robust offshore installations

Siegfriedsen knew that offshore turbines are exposed to harsher weather conditions than those on land. So he started looking for solutions to make the generators and gearboxes resistant to the harsh salty air of the sea. Working with a team of other researchers, he developed a corrosion protection system for the turbines. This system draws outside air into the wind turbine, where an air treatment system filters out salt and other particles. The treated air builds up inside the tower and creates a positive pressure, which prevents untreated outside air from entering the unit.

Sönke Siegfriedsen applied for a patent for his corrosion protection system in 1999 – as he did for many of his inventions. In Germany, the engineer is one of the best-known developers of modern wind turbines today.

(Image: –, video: European Patent Office)

Sönke Siegfriedsen – Preventing corrosion in offshore wind energy facilities

Place of invention

Provianthausstraße 9, 24768 Rendsburg