SBIR Phase II: Ultra-light,modular wind turbine
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop an ultra-light, modular wind turbine for use in buoyant airborne wind energy systems. Reduced turbine weight has a cascading effect on total airborne system mass, allowing a significantly smaller, lower cost buoyant structure to be used to access high altitude winds. At heights up to 2,000 feet winds are strong and consistent, allowing for the production of low-cost, reliable power at a broad array of sites. High altitude winds have over five times the energy potential of ground winds accessed by tower-mounted turbines, opening the potential for a major new renewable energy resource to be harnessed. In addition, the containerized deployment of airborne wind turbines has the potential to expand wind development to sites that are not feasible today, including sites that are remote or have weak ground-level winds. Overall, the technology holds the potential to significantly lower energy costs and improve reliability for remote industrial, community, and military customers and represents a major step forward in unlocking the abundant high-altitude wind resource to help in the global pursuit of greater adoption of renewable energy sources.This SBIR Phase II project will focus on reducing the total weight of the wind turbine system. Turbine weight is one of the most critical cost drivers of buoyant airborne wind energy systems. For each kilogram removed from the turbine, an additional kilogram can be removed from the inflatable shell and tethers, resulting in a significantly smaller and lower cost system. The lightest commercially available small- to medium-sized wind turbine weighs 31.1 kilograms per kilowatt of capacity, which is too heavy for an economically-viable airborne turbine. By incorporating a compact, modular architecture, a lightweight permanent magnet direct-drive (PMDD) generator and high-strength composite materials, the proposed Phase II research effort aims to double the power density of traditional medium size turbines, making the proposed system suitable for use in an airborne application, while maintaining a high level of reliability and cost performance.
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop an ultra-light, modular wind turbine for use in buoyant airborne wind energy systems. Reduced turbine weight has a cascading effect on total airborne system mass, allowing a significantly smaller, lower cost buoyant structure to be used to access high altitude winds. At heights up to 2,000 feet winds are strong and consistent, allowing for the production of low-cost, reliable power at a broad array of sites. High altitude winds have over five tim...
Altaeros Energies is developing a lighter-than-air airborne platform for wind power generation and for telecoms applications. Uniquely, the platform flies entirely autonomously, including docking during adverse weather conditions. Altaeros has developed a comprehensive non-linear flight dynamics simulation tool for the purposes of aerostat design and model-in-the-loop flight control. The tool is continuously refined with ongoing test data. The project is envisaged to continue development of the tool and build the flight dynamics 'know-how' in Altaeros, potentially including:
- Use of test data to empirically evaluate aerostat flight qualities.
- Assistance in model validation with test data.
- Statistical analysis of turbulent wind data and aerostat model response.
- Development of optimization functions to algorithmically identify most stable platform using model data.
- Expanding Altaeros' linearized and lower-order modeling capability (with rigorous evaluation of fidelity)
- Development of aero-elastic modeling capabilities.
The successful applicant will have a self-starting, independent work mindset together with strong aerodynamics and flight dynamics background. He or she will have demonstrated capability with numerical modeling techniques. Experience in buoyant vehicles is desirable (e.g. lighter than air or submarine).
Small Business Postdoctoral Research Diversity Fellowship Program
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