End of an era: AMO’s wind turbine ANIMA is dismantled

Once a pioneer in Aachen, ANIMA, the “soul” of AMO (ANIMA: Italian for soul), retires after 26 years of service. It was one of the first turbines installed in the Aachen urban area and, for a long time, the largest wind turbine commissioned by a university campus in Europe. Financed by the EU structural-aid funds for the long-term promotion of research and innovation, the plant was operated by the non-profit research foundry AMO GmbH, which had already started to look for alternative energy sources. The goal was to generate part of the energy needed for the research institute itself.

ANIMA  had a hub-height of 48 meters and three 20-meter rotating blades. The Enercon 40 turbine as capable wof generating a peak output of 500 kilowatts, achieved at wind speeds of about 12m/s. In the past years of operation, it produced an average of more than 600,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, supplying about 50% of the energy consumed in AMO GmbH’s research laboratories for the air conditioning of the clean-room and for the energy-intensive production of electronic components.

The core components of the turbine were replaced in 2015, with the intention of extending its the lifetime by several years. However, the complete refurbishment of the plant became necessary, after a regular safety-inspection identified a damage to the concrete tower. Such a measure did unfortunately not make sense from an economic point of view. Also plans to erect a modern, more powerful turbine in the same location had to be discarded, as today’s turbines are significantly larger and higher than the old ANIMA, and cannot be approved in an area that has become increasingly densely built in the past years.

So now – after 26 proud years of operation – the cranes have come to dismantle the colossus. The wind showed once more that it is in charge here, delaying the operations until late at night. All that remains of ANIMA today, is a sad last “stump”, which will also be dismantled shortly. We think back to ANIMA with melancholy – it has been a landmark on Campus Melaten for many years.

A small consolation remains. Parts of ANIMA were used to repair the wind turbine AIRWIN, in Dortmund of the Dortmunder Energie- und Wasserversorgung GmbH (DEW21). With the soul of ANIMA breathed into it, AIRWIN could be put back into operation. The rotors keep turning to produce green electricity.


AMO in Press: