unizeit Schriftzug

Turning more quietly

Wind turbines are too loud. That is the opinion of many actually or potentially affected people, which contributes significantly to the acceptance problems of this technology. An innovative quartet of experts who are very familiar with the topic of wind power is currently in the process of founding the company COMPOSE under the umbrella of Kiel University, which aims to achieve success with solutions to the noise problem.

Four men in front of a building
© Florian Hamer

Christian Schönke (from left), Gabriel Gebre Musie, Dr. Tarek Magdy and Thies Hecker develop a technical solution to reduce the noise of wind turbines.

Christian Schönke studied engineering in Flensburg and Hamburg, then developed himself into an expert for calculation and simulation in mechanical engineering as an employee of the wind turbine manufacturer Senvion, which became insolvent one year ago. During his employment, he remained constantly in close touch with research through numerous collaborative projects with universities. And it is precisely in this environment that the idea arose to become self-employed, through a project affiliated with science.

In addition to Schönke, the team includes his former colleagues Thies Hecker and Gabriel Gebre Musie, as well as Dr Tarek Magdy, an expert in the certification of wind turbines. "What unites us is the practical experience, the scientific ambitions and also the desire to establish something ourselves," said Schönke to describe the quartet in their mid-thirties. And he doesn’t forget to highlight the crucial support from the Centre for Entrepreneurship (ZfE) at Kiel University: “We received all-round support, otherwise we would have found it much harder to progress from the idea to implementation, and to secure financing."

From 1 October, the emerging founders of COMPOSE (Computational Methods for Prediction and Optimization of Sound Emissions) now have 18 months to really get their own business off the ground. The EXIST Transfer of Research programme is supporting this phase with €500,000 for personnel costs as well as €250,000 for material expenses. This is of fundamental importance to the project, because a great deal of work lies ahead before a marketable product can be offered.

Although Schönke and partners don’t want to reveal too many details yet, their approach is based on using software solutions to already achieve clearly noticeable reductions in noise emissions during the development of wind turbines. The response from experts has been very positive, and the aspiring founders are also very optimistic. They are convinced that onshore wind power is indispensable if Germany and countless other states want to achieve their self-imposed climate goals. Therefore, according to Christian Schönke, greater acceptance through less noise is a model with "huge potential", also beyond the borders of Germany.

Author: Martin Geist