The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has been awarded US$5.7M in funding from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy for work in the field of floating offshore wind turbines
NREL was named prime contractor for three projects within ARPA-E’s ‘Aerodynamic Turbines Lighter and Afloat with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control’ (ATLANTIS) programme, which seeks to develop radically new floating offshore wind turbines by maximising their rotor-area-to-total-weight ratio while maintaining or increasing turbine generation efficiency. The programme also aims to build a new generation of computer tools to facilitate floating wind design; and collect data from full and lab-scale experiments to validate designs and computer tools for floating wind.
NREL wind lab programme manager Brian Smith said, “Offshore wind market forecasts show accelerated growth. These projects ensure that innovative floating offshore wind technologies will continue to develop and expand US offshore wind energy capacity.”
NREL researchers will develop an open-source software tool, called Wind Energy with Integrated Servo-control (WEIS), to enable control co-design optimisation of floating wind turbines. ARPA-E awarded NREL US$2,708,864 for the project. NREL is partnering with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on it.
In addition, NREL will generate floating offshore wind turbine loads, motion, and performance as it develops the Floating Offshore-wind and Controls Advanced Laboratory (FOCAL). The award came with US$1,529,923 in funding, which is meant to generate the first public FOWT scale-model dataset to include advanced turbine and hull controls, and hull flexibility. NREL is partnering with the University of Maine and DNV GL on this project.
The lab is also working on reducing the cost of energy from floating wind below the U$0.075 per kilowatt-hour generated by bottom-fixed offshore wind. The project, dubbed USFLOWT for ‘Ultraflexible Smart FLoating Offshore Wind Turbine,’ comes with US$1,500,000 in funding. NREL is partnering with the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado University at Boulder, University of Virginia, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the American Bureau of Shipping.
NREL also work on other ATLANTIS projects funded at the University of Maine, University of Texas at Dallas, Rutgers University, and the company WS Atkins.