The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) will fund the development of a lightweight, more efficient wind turbine drivetrain system that can help boost offshore wind turbine outputs to beyond 10MW.
DOE's Wind Energy Technologies Office issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled "Advanced Next-Generation, High-Efficiency, Lightweight Wind Turbine Generator" on 14 November, stating that the deadline for submitting concept papers is 13 December 2018 and full applications are due to be submitted by 17:00 (ET) on 21 January 2019.
The primary objective is to develop and test next-generation advanced wind turbine drivetrain technologies that will facilitate the continued growth and acceptance of wind turbines for offshore applications, and ultimately lead to reductions in the cost of offshore wind energy, according to DOE.
The funding will support projects whose end result will be the design, fabrication, and up-tower testing of advanced multi-megawatt-scale wind turbine prototype drivetrains. DOE stated that this work would further its goal to reduce the cost of energy from wind by decreasing nacelle and tower mass, reducing O&M and replacement costs, and improving performance.
The projects will bring forward a lightweight, more efficient wind turbine drivetrain system – gearbox and generator, or direct drive generator – that minimizes the use of rare earth magnets and contributes to the scaling of wind turbine power capacities beyond 10MW.