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NWTC Researchers Recognized for Technology Transfer Excellence

August 10, 2015

Two research teams at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently received NREL Technology Transfer Awards: one for the development of the Simulator fOr Wind Farm Applications (SOWFA) and a second for their work with Siemens on blade aerodynamics. A third team received a patent award for their approach to wind turbine blade testing using base excitation. These awards recognize individuals who have shown exceptional personal initiative in helping transfer NREL technology and developments to the private sector through impactful partnering, licensing, and product release activity.

Matthew Churchfield, Paul Fleming, Sang Lee, Patrick Moriarty, and Avi Purkayastha received an award in the area of Outstanding Public Information for SOWFA. The SOWFA platform sets a new paradigm for the wind industry by enabling developers to explore ways to improve the performance of not only one wind turbine, but also the entire wind plant. Using SOWFA, engineers can develop systems that could result in significant increases in annual energy production for both land-based and offshore wind energy systems. It also reduces the risk of wind plant development by allowing developers to study the performance of wind turbines on a proposed site before the plant is built. This will help optimize future wind plant layout and operation while lowering the overall cost of energy.

Andy Clifton, Lee Jay Fingersh, Dave Jager, and Scott Schreck received the Outstanding Business Collaboration Partnership Award for an ongoing cooperative research and development agreement with Siemens to collect and analyze data on airfoil and blade performance. NREL collaborated with Siemens to instrument and install state-of-the-art Siemens B53 passive load alleviation blades on the Siemens 2.3-MW wind turbine at the NWTC. The blades were heavily instrumented with hundreds of surface pressure taps, five-hole pressure probes, and fiber optic strands to measure rapidly varying aerodynamic phenomena and characterize the deformation of the highly flexible blade. The research-grade measurements acquired via this Siemens-NWTC collaboration will provide validated design models that will enable design of innovative turbine geometries for diverse inflow environments and will further reduce the cost of energy.

Jason Cotrell, Scott Hughes, and Bob Thresher received an award for their patent entitled “Wind Turbine Blade Testing System Using Base Excitation.” This patent describes the use of base or root excitation—instead of expensive hydraulic equipment—for testing large wind turbine blades.

For more information on how to work with NREL, visit the Technology Transfer website.