Aquanis has announced today that it was awarded $3.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy(ARPA-E), which will be used to develop a control system that will allow wind turbines to react more quickly to changes in the wind.
The funding will be used to develop a segmented active load control system featuring the Company’s electrical blade-mounted actuators that modify the local flow over the surface of the blades without using mechanical components (no moving parts).
“We are thrilled to have been chosen for this highly competitive ARPA-E award” said Aquanis Founder and CEO Neal Fine. “Aquanis is committed to helping the wind industry continue the historic improvement in turbine technology, which is key to reducing the cost of wind energy and increasing wind penetration in the grid energy market. Our selection by ARPA-E confirms that we are working with a great team on an important and challenging problem.”
Thorne Sparkman, managing director of the Slater Technology Fund, which provided seed funding to Aquanis, added that proliferation of wind power has been a bright spot on the energy landscape, but we have a long way to go
The cost of wind energy can be reduced by deploying larger, more efficient, and more durable wind turbines. In order to build such wind turbines, designers must find a way to mitigate unsteady loads on the turbine blades, caused by wind gusts, turbulence and other changes in wind speed. All of the remedies tried to date have moving parts, and are costly and complex to implement. Aquanis is developing a new technology that can address the problem with no moving parts and minimal blade modifications.
In this ARPA-E funded project, Aquanis will lead a world-class team of researchers that includes the University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX), Sandia National Laboratory(Albuquerque, NM), and the largest independent blade manufacturer, TPI Composites, Inc. (Warren, RI). In addition to introducing new innovations to advance the Company’s actuator technology, the team will develop an integrated design approach to maximize the impact of segmented active load control on the cost of energy.
Aquanis received the award from the ARPA-E 2018 Open programme. This is the fourth Open funding opportunity announcement (FOA) issued by ARPA-E. The Open FOA is designed to ensure that the agency does not miss opportunities to support innovative energy R&D that falls outside the topics of their focused technology programmes.