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Henrik Stiesdal

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Henrik Stiesdal
Henrik Stiesdal, ex-CTO Siemens Windpower
Henrik Stiesdal

(1957-04-14)April 14, 1957
Occupation(s)former chief technology officer,
Siemens Wind Power
Years active1978–present

Henrik Stiesdal (born April 14, 1957) is a Danish inventor and businessman in the modern wind power industry. In 1978, he designed one of the first wind turbines representing the so-called "Danish Concept" which dominated the global wind industry through the 1980s.[1] Until 2014, Stiesdal was the chief technology officer of Siemens Wind Power. During his professional career, Stiesdal has made more than 175 inventions and has received more than 650 patents related to wind power technology.

Early life[edit]

Henrik Stiesdal was born in Hørsholm, a town located in the East of Denmark. Between 1979–1988 he studied medicine, physics and biology at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. In 1976, Stiesdal became motivated by the steam plume from a powerplant cooling tower in England to build two small test turbines out of wood, steel and fabric.[2][3][4] He subsequently built a full-scale grid-connected wind turbine which was installed in 1978 on his parents' farm.[5]


In 1978, Henrik Stiesdal designed (along with Karl Erik Jørgensen) one of the first wind turbines representing the so-called "Danish concept"; upwind, horizontal axis, three blades.[6] In 1979, his design was licensed to Vestas A/S, a Danish manufacturer of farm wagons, truck cranes and ship coolers. Stiesdal's design formed the basis of this company's rise to become one of the leading wind turbine manufacturers. After first working for Vestas as a consultant, he joined the company in 1983 as project manager.

In 1987, Stiesdal joined the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Bonus Energy A/S as a development specialist.[7] In 1988, he became a technical manager and in 2000 he took the role of Chief Technology Officer.[8] In 2004, Bonus Energy A/S was acquired by the German technology company Siemens.[9][10] Stiesdal became the Chief Technology Officer of Siemens Wind Power and remained in this position until the end of 2014, when he retired.[4] According to rough calculations by Stiesdal, one person's work for a year at a wind turbine manufacturer or subcontractor compensates for 650 western peoples' CO2 emissions for that year.[11] In 2016, he became affiliate professor at DTU Wind, the Technical University of Denmark´s Department of Wind Energy. He is now working on a startup that will produce massive tetrahedral structures that he designed that will serve as bases for floating wind turbines.[12]

Inventions and innovations[edit]

Stiesdal's initial work in the late 1970s and early 1980s contributed significantly to the development of the simple and robust technologies of the so-called Danish Concept, comprising upwind, automatic yawing and two-speed stall-regulated turbines with fail-safe safety systems.[13] This concept is considered as the basis of the dominant position of the Danish wind industry through the following decades.[4] In 1990, Stiesdal had overall responsibility for Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm, the world's first offshore wind farm, including the first offshore adaptation of wind turbines.[14][15] The wind farm had 11 Bonus 450 kW turbines, and was installed in 1991.[16] From 1995 onwards, Stiesdal was responsible for the development of the proprietary IntegralBlade® manufacturing technology.[17] In this manufacturing process, blades are cast in one piece, eliminating weak spots of known technologies.[18] In 1996, Stiesdal developed the CombiStall® blade regulation system which was fully implemented in the company's megawatt-range turbines. Two years later in 1998, Stiesdal designed the first variable-speed turbine for Bonus Energy A/S. The technology was tested commercially in 2002 and from 2005 onwards, it has been used in all of Siemens’ new products. From 1999 onwards, Stiesdal was in charge of the development of Siemens’ Direct Drive technology, eliminating the gearbox which is the classical weak spot of traditional wind turbine design.[19]

Stiesdal is involved in around 175 inventions,[4] including thermal storage,[20] pyrolysis[21] and other technologies, with an emphasis on simplicity and economy, rather than advanced technology.[22][23][24] The TetraSpar floating platform for wind turbines,[25][26][27] intended for industrialization,[28] was installed with a standard 3.6 MW Siemens DD turbine at the first Hywind site in 2021.[29][30]


  • Siemens awarded Stiesdal as the Inventor of the Year in 2008 and as Top-Innovator in 2010.[8][31]
  • Henrik Stiesdal was awarded the Poul la Cour Prize of the European Wind Energy Association in 2011.[32][33]
  • In 2012, the trade magazine Windpower Monthly declared Henrik Stiesdal as the 2nd most influential person in the wind industry.[7]
  • In 2014 he received the German Renewables Award for Lifetime Achievements in Wind Energy.
  • In 2015 he received the Wind Turbine Award from the Danish Wind Turbine Owners' Association.
  • In 2019, the trade magazine Recharge gave its "Floating Wind Power Player of the Year" award to Stiesdal for his TetraSpar floating platform design for offshore wind turbines.[34]
  • In 2024 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, jointly with Andrew Garrad for their work on the development of high performance wind turbines.[35]

Private life[edit]

Henrik Stiesdal is married and has two daughters. He and his family live in Odense, Denmark.[36]


  1. ^ Ertel, Manfred; Traufetter, Gerald (16 July 2012). "Die Bändiger des Windes". Der Spiegel (in German) (29). Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  2. ^ Snieckus, Darius (26 November 2012). "Henrik Stiesdal: From scrapyard to wind industry prizewinner". Recharge News. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  3. ^ Stevers, Gijs (25 May 2012). "Siemens Wind Power – a Green and Sexy Business". CapetoCape 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d Rosendal, Sara. "Vindmøllepioner: Den første blev rejst på ladet af en traktorvogn" In English Photo gallery Ingeniøren, 25 December 2014. Accessed: 26 December 2014.
  5. ^ Molitor, Andreas. "Ins Licht gerückt". brand eins Wirtschaftsmagazin (in German).
  6. ^ Krohn, Søren (2001). Wind Turbines: How many blades? windpower.org, 2001.
  7. ^ a b McKenna, John (2012). The 30 most influential people in the wind energy industry windpowermonthly.com, 26 September 2012.
  8. ^ a b Industrial Technologies (2012). Henrik Stiesdal Archived 2014-04-29 at the Wayback Machine Industrial Technologies 2012 - Speakers, 2012.
  9. ^ Neitzsch, Peter (2011). Tüftler im Aufwind Stern.de, 22 August 2011.(in German)
  10. ^ Höpner, Axel (2011). Siemens-Turbinen vom Fließband wiwo.de, 28 July 2011.(in German)
  11. ^ Stiesdal, Henrik. "Hvilke ingeniører gør den største forskel?" In English Ingeniøren, 18 February 2015. Accessed: 18 February 2015.
  12. ^ Reed, Stanley (2023-05-03). "Danish Wind Pioneer Keeps Battling Climate Change". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-05-13.
  13. ^ Reve (2011). 2011 Poul la Cour Prize to Siemens’ Henrik Stiesdal – a pioneer of modern wind energy technology Reve - Wind Energy and Electric Vehicle Review, 15 March 2011.
  14. ^ Motion Control Online (2008). Siemens Increases Number of Patents by 10% to 55,000 Archived 2014-04-29 at the Wayback Machine MCA Motion Control Association, 05 December 2008.
  15. ^ Steinmetz, Marc (2006). Henrik Stiesdal focus.de, 19 September 2006.(in German)
  16. ^ Wittrup, Sanne. "Mr. Wind power celebrates anniversary" In English Ingeniøren, 20 April 2012. Accessed: 26 December 2014.
  17. ^ Siemens AG (2012). IntegralBlade® - A key technology unique to the wind industry
  18. ^ Rosendal, Sara. "His idea revolutionized Siemens' business " In English Ingeniøren, 19 February 2014. Accessed: 26 December 2014.
  19. ^ European Sustainable Energy Review (2008). Siemens wind turbine technology Archived 2014-04-29 at the Wayback Machine European Sustainable Energy Review, 2008:4.
  20. ^ Wittrup, Sanne. "Siemens will store power in giant sand bunker " In English Ingeniøren, 29 November 2014. Accessed: 26 December 2014.
  21. ^ "Stiesdal og Nature Energy viste pyrolyse og PtX frem for kronprinsen". Energy Supply DK (in Danish). 15 March 2022. Archived from the original on 15 March 2022.
  22. ^ Allen, Grace (10 February 2020). "Industry veteran Henrik Stiesdal on the future of offshore wind". Archived from the original on 13 March 2020.
  23. ^ "Danish electrolyzer firm Stiesdal next in Reliance new energy plans". pv magazine India. 13 October 2021.
  24. ^ Collins, Leigh (12 October 2021). "Asia's richest man to build gigafactory to mass-produce Stiesdal's new low-cost hydrogen electrolyser | Recharge". Recharge | Latest renewable energy news. Archived from the original on 13 October 2021.
  25. ^ TetraSpar data
  26. ^ Borg, Michael; Walkusch Jensen, Morten; Urquhart, Scott; Andersen, Morten Thøtt; Thomsen, Jonas Bjerg; Stiesdal, Henrik (January 2020). "Technical Definition of the TetraSpar Demonstrator Floating Wind Turbine Foundation". Energies. 13 (18): 4911. doi:10.3390/en13184911.
  27. ^ Ford, Neil (12 June 2019). "Floating wind built in series could be cheaper than fixed-bottom | New Energy Update". analysis.newenergyupdate.com. Archived from the original on 5 October 2019.
  28. ^ Brooks, Cristina (16 August 2021). "Q&A: TetraSpar inventor Henrik Stiesdal talks floating wind markets". IHS Markit. Archived from the original on 5 December 2021.
  29. ^ "Unitech Offshore Wins TetraSpar Floater Contract". Offshore Wind. 7 November 2019.
  30. ^ "Exclusive video TetraSpar Demonstrator Floating Wind Turbine project". Ocean Energy Resources. 15 September 2021.
  31. ^ Siemens AG (2008). Siemens increases number of patents by 10% to 55,000 - Twelve outstanding inventors honored Siemens AG, 02 December 2008.
  32. ^ EWEA (2013) Poul la Cour Prize Archived 2014-04-20 at the Wayback Machine European Wind Energy Association, 2013
  33. ^ EWEA (2011) Poul la Cour prize awarded at EWEA 2011 on YouTube EWEA Channel, 14 March 2011.
  34. ^ "Industry pioneer Stiesdal wins Recharge floating wind prize". Recharge | Latest renewable energy news. 24 April 2019. Archived from the original on 13 March 2020.
  35. ^ {url=https://qeprize.org/winners/wind-power}
  36. ^ Maegaard, Preben; Krenz, Anna and Palz, Wolfgang (2013). The Rise of Modern Wind Energy - Wind Power for the World CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, 282.

External links[edit]

Hautmann, Daniel (2016) https://www.brandeins.de/magazine/brand-eins-wirtschaftsmagazin/2016/gesundheit/projekt-pyramide

Weber, Tilman (2013). Überraschend direkt fraunhofer.de, 04/2013.(in German)
Csanyi, Edvard (2010). Siemens Wind Turbine SWT-2.3-82 EEP Electrical Engineering Portal, 30 December 2010.
Quilter, James (2013). Windpower TV - interview with Siemens CTO Henrik Stiesdal windpowermonthly.com, 5 February 2013.
Carlin, P.W.; Laxson, A.S. and Muljadi, E.B. (2003). The History and State of the Art of Variable-Speed wind Turbine Technology Wind Energ, 2003, 6: 129-159.
Höpner, Axel; Hofer, Joachim (2010). Auf Ideensuche in der ganzen Welt wiwo.de, 8 July 2010.(in German)
Press Picture: Henrik Stiesdal Siemens AG, 7 August 2012.