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GE Awarded DOE Grant to Research 3-D Printing of Wind Turbine Blades

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GE ResearchGE Renewable Energy, and LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business were recently selected by the Department of Energy to research the design and manufacture of 3-D printed wind turbine blades. The GE business units will partner with the Oakridge National Lab and the National Renewable Energy Lab on a 25-month $6.7 million project to develop and demonstrate an integrated additive manufacturing process for novel high- performance blade designs for the future of large rotors.   
GE Awarded DOE Grant to Research 3-D Printing of Wind Turbine Blades
Courtesy of NREL

The award was announced by DOE last month.

The project will deliver a full-size blade tip ready to be structurally tested, as well as three blade tips that will be installed on a wind turbine. The proposed project will focus on low-cost thermoplastic skin coupled with printed reinforcement.

This project will advance the competitiveness of both onshore and offshore wind energy when commercialized, by lowering manufacturing cost, increasing supply chain flexibility, providing lighter weight blades made with more recyclable materials. All of this will help reduce the cost of Wind Energy. Design cycle time is also reduced enabling more wind farm optimization, which will yield further increases in farm annual energy production and reductions in the levelized cost of energy.

Matteo Bellucci, GE Renewable Energy Advanced Manufacturing Leader, said, “We are excited to partner with the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office, as well as with our world’s class partners to introduce a highly innovative Advanced Manufacturing and Additive Process to completely revolutionize the state of the art of wind blade manufacturing. Additive Manufacturing can bring a step change in cost and performance competitiveness in the wind industry and help GE Renewable Energy support our customers in driving the energy transition farther and faster.”  

Todd Anderson, Principal Investigator at GE Research, added, “Through GE’s Research Lab, we literally have an entire business portfolio at Wind’s back. Over the years, GE scientists have been successful at applying our legacy of materials and composites expertise in Aviation to the wind energy space. We were the first to introduce lightweight composite fan blades in our jet engines more than two decades ago.  Today, with our business partners and leading National Laboratories, we’re bringing that experience and more to deliver a more advanced wind blade to take wind power to the next level of cost and performance.”

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