The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded USD 17 million to eight projects focused on offshore wind energy research and development.
Two offshore wind technology demonstration projects will receive up to a total of USD 10 million to conduct additional project development activities that enable the demonstration of innovative technologies or methodologies to reduce risk and cost.
The first is Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) which will use sensing technologies to characterize the activity of birds near its Icebreaker project site in Lake Erie, Ohio.
The University of Maine at Orono will develop an alternative floating substructure design for a 10–12MW turbine in place of the currently planned two 6-MW turbine floating offshore wind demonstration project to be deployed off Monhegan Island.
DOE is further allocating USD 7 million to six projects to conduct testing in support of innovative offshore wind R&D using existing national-level testing facilities.
Clemson University of North Charleston, South Carolina, will work towards improving offshore-scale nacelle testing through a hardware-in-the-loop capability enabling concurrent mechanical, electrical, and controller testing on the 7.5MW dynamometer at its Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility.
Lehigh University of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will upgrade its soil-foundation interaction laboratory to combine computer simulation with physical testing to model impacts of wind, waves, currents, and other factors on turbine structures.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center in Boston will upgrade its Wind Technology Testing Center to enable structural testing of 85 to 120m long blades, while the Oregon State University of Corvallis will use numerical models to simulate the combined effects of wind and waves on floating wind turbines in a wave basin.
Tufts University of Medford, Massachusetts, will quantify the effects of fatigue on the stiffness, strength, and durability of various marine concrete mixtures to facilitate the development of cost-effective, resilient concrete offshore wind support structures.
The University of Massachusetts–Lowell will develop and validate a novel autonomous method of using measured acoustic pressure to detect degradation and damage in wind turbine blades.
“These projects will be instrumental in driving down technology costs and increasing consumer options for wind across the United States as part of our comprehensive energy portfolio,” said DOE’s Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Daniel R Simmons.