Poul la Cour

The name of the wind tunnel, the Poul la Cour Tunnel, has been chosen as an acknowledgement of a great Danish wind-turbine scientist and in recognition to the Danish wind energy tradition.

Poul la Cour (1846-1908) was a Danish scientist, teacher and inventor. He was born in Aarhus in 1846. In 1869, he completed a highly praised dissertation in the then new discipline, meteorology. Afterwards, he became the deputy head of department when the Danish Meteorological Institute opened in 1872. In 1878, Poul la Cour became a teacher at Askov folk high school.

La Cour was a passionate inventor, experimenting with e.g. telegraphy. This earned him the nickname “the Danish Edison”. In 1891, he built a test wind turbine at Askov folk high school supplying the school with energy for gas lamps. At the time, storing wind energy for the inevitable days without wind was an issue as is the case today. Poul la Cour experimented with turning the wind energy into hydrogen in order to store the energy.

Internationally, Poul la Cour became famous for his groundbreaking experiments with wind turbine models in small-scale wind tunnels he built in 1896, i.e. 25 year after the Worlds first wind tunnel has been build in Great Britain. He was the first person to carry out experimental aerodynamic research for wind turbines. Based on the experiments, he wrote the book “Forsøgsmøllen” (Danish for “The Test Turbine”), an international textbook on wind turbines. In the book, la Cour describes the features of the ideal wind turbine for electricity generation, having as few blades as possible, with an aerodynamic profile and the smallest possible bevel. Despite the development of new technologies and materials, the features described in “Forsøgsmøllen” to a large extend correspond with the turbines of today.




22 JANUARY 2022