University of Maine (UMaine) has been awarded US$1,398,202 through the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) programme to design an ultra-lightweight, corrosion-resistant, floating wind energy platform
The concrete, semi-submersible floating wind foundation will be equipped with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-developed motion-compensation technology originally developed to reduce vibrations in rockets.
UMaine has adapted the technology to counteract motion, leading to lighter platforms, increased turbine performance, and a lower cost of energy.
UMaine Advanced Structures and Composites Center executive director Dr Habib Dagher said, “We very much appreciate that ARPA-E has selected UMaine for this very highly competitive award.
“With this funding, we plan to further stabilise our floating wind turbine hull in extreme storms by integrating NASA rocket vibration suppression technology into the design. This will help lighten the hull and further decrease our already very low electricity costs.
“This work builds on our 12 years of experience in floating wind technology and provides a whole new direction that could further revolutionise the design.”
Details of the funding were announced by US Senators Susan Collins and Angus King. “The Gulf of Maine has tremendous potential as a source of affordable, renewable wind energy, which would create thousands of new jobs and diversify our state’s electricity supply,” said Senators Collins and King.
“We are thrilled that the Department of Energy continues to recognise UMaine’s leadership in floating offshore wind technology and the enormous potential this research and development would bring to a clean energy economy.”
Senators Collins and King have supported UMaine’s offshore wind programme and development of the New England Aqua Ventus I project since its announcement in 2016.
If the project proceeds according to plan, Aqua Ventus I could soon be the first floating, deepwater offshore wind development in the US.
ARPA-E advances high-potential, high-impact energy technology that is considered too high-risk for private-sector investment.