USA: NREL Gets USD 5.7 Million for Floating Wind Turbine Research

U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has awarded USD 5.7 million in new funding to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for its activities in the field of floating offshore wind turbines.

NREL will work as the prime contractor on three projects within ARPA-E’s Aerodynamic Turbines Lighter and Afloat with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control (ATLANTIS) program, aiming to develop next-generation floating wind turbines.

ARPA-E awarded NREL with USD 2.7 million for the project that will focus on developing an open-source software tool, called Wind Energy with Integrated Servo-control (WEIS), to enable control co-design optimization of floating wind turbines. NREL is partnering with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on this project.

USD 1.5 million is earmarked for generating the first public scale-model dataset for a floating wind turbine that will include advanced turbine and hull controls, and hull flexibility. NREL and its partners, the University of Maine and DNV GL, will work on generating data for floating wind turbine loads, motion, and performance as they develop the Floating Offshore-wind and Controls Advanced Laboratory (FOCAL).

Another USD 1.5 million will serve to fund a project called Ultraflexible Smart FLoating Offshore Wind Turbine (USFLOWT), which aims to unlock the floating offshore wind market by lowering the cost of energy below the 7.5 cents a kilowatt-hour generated by fixed-bottom offshore wind farms. On this project, NREL’s partners are Colorado School of Mines, Colorado University at Boulder, University of Virginia, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the American Bureau of Shipping.

“Offshore wind market forecasts show accelerated growth,” said Brian Smith, NREL’s wind laboratory program manager. “These projects ensure that innovative floating offshore wind technologies will continue to develop and expand U.S. offshore wind energy capacity.”

NREL said that it will also be working on other ATLANTIS projects funded at the University of Maine, University of Texas at Dallas, Rutgers University, and the company WS Atkins.

Photo: Illustration. Source: Dennis Schroeder/NREL

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