In July, DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory announced two new Competitiveness Improvement Project (CIP) awards. Northern Power Systems of Barre, VT, and Urban Green Energy of New York, NY will receive a portion of the $1.27 million allocated to the CIP in support of the DOE’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative. The CIP aims to help U.S. manufacturers of small and mid-sized wind turbines with rotor swept areas up to 1,000 square meters improve their turbine design and manufacturing processes to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and eventually earn certification that shows they have met performance and safety requirements.
Northern Power Systems is currently focused on a broad range of component improvements aimed at reducing total system cost and increasing performance of its 100-kilowatt (kW) wind turbine. Under its award, the company plans to develop and deploy an innovative blade designed for low wind speed applications and model and test an advanced control method that will help increase the amount of energy produced by its turbine.
Under its award, Urban Green Energy will subject its 1-kW vertical-axis wind turbine to extensive third-party testing to be performed by the regional test center managed by Intertek. Successful completion of the testing will lead to certification, ensuring that the turbine meets the American Wind Energy Association’s safety and performance standards.
The two new awards will bring the total number of awards under this second round of CIP funding to five―Pika Energy of Westbrook, ME, received two awards in April, and Endurance Windpower of Spanish Forks, UT, received an award in March.
Under its awards, Pika will upgrade its manufacturing processes and improve core wind turbine components. The company will focus on reducing manufacturing costs of key turbine components and will use experience gained from the injection molding process developed for its blades under a Round 1 CIP award. Pika will also scale up the turbine’s blades, alternator, inverter, and tower to enable more energy production at a reduced end-user cost.
Endurance Wind Power will conduct testing on its prototype turbine with an expanded rotor that allows for a larger wind-swept area, leading to a more efficient turbine.