US Bankrolls Two Offshore Wind Projects

U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has set aside over USD 8 million for two offshore wind-related projects.

USD 3.57 million will go to a team led by the University of Virginia for the design of a 50 MW wind turbine featuring downwind morphing, expected to reduce blade loads and allow ultralight segmented blades.

They will also build and field test an aeroelastically-scaled version to demonstrate this novel technology. The 50 MW turbine design has a potential to enable a 10x increase in power compared to today’s largest production turbines. The 200-meter long blades can be fabricated in five to seven segments, and assembled at the point of use.

The hurricane-resistant design is expected to enable low-cost offshore wind energy for the United States.

Accio Energy, Inc. will receive USD 4.5 million to develop and demonstrate an Electrohydrodynamic (EHD) turbine-less wind energy system that harvests energy through physical separation of charge.

The technology uses the wind to separate a mist of positively charged water droplets from excess electrons that form a high voltage direct current source, potentially creating an entirely new option for low-cost offshore wind.

The funding is a part of a USD 125 million grant allocated under ARPA-E’s OPEN 2015 program to support 41 ”cutting-edge energy technologies,” announced yesterday by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

The OPEN 2015 projects come from 21 U.S. states and encompass 10 technical categories, including transportation, electricity generation and delivery and energy efficiency.

“The ARPA-E projects selected today highlight how American ingenuity can spur innovation and generate a wide range of technology options to address our nation’s most pressing energy issues,” said Secretary Moniz.

“As we look beyond COP21, the energy technologies the Department of Energy invests in today will provide the solutions needed to combat climate change and develop a global low-carbon economy in the future.”