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NREL Announces New Technology Development and Innovation Project Selections

January 11, 2018

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has selected two projects to receive U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded Technology Development and Innovation (TD&I) subcontracts. These awards provide recipients access to NREL’s National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) facilities and expertise in support of projects involving the research and development of early-stage wind-wildlife impact minimization technologies.

To facilitate more efficient and cost-effective wind energy deployment across the United States, the TD&I project helps the wind industry identify wind-wildlife impact minimization technologies. Award selection criteria included technical merit, feasibility and impact, partnership commitment, and organizational solvency. The TDI team selected the following projects:

  • Refining a Selectively Perceptible Wind Turbine System for Preventing Bat Fatalities, Fort Collins Science Center, United States Geological Survey (USGS). This project will develop and test the hypothesis that dim, flickering, and position-shifting ultraviolet light, which is imperceptible by humans or birds but detectable by bats, can be used to visually enhance turbines. This would enable bats to differentiate turbines from trees, keeping bats from approaching in search of resources such as food or roosts.
  • Managing Bird and Bat Turbine Strikes Using Weather Radar, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, USGS. This project proposes a two-pronged study consisting of a localized field component and a national-level assessment to determine whether the Next Generation Weather Radar (NEXRAD) system can effectively detect wildlife at considerable distances. This radar system could then be paired with a local visual detection for target identification and be used to shut down a turbine or trigger deterrent systems to reduce wind energy impacts on flying animals.

At the conclusion of each 18-month project, a short public-facing summary document and a public-facing webinar and/or public presentation on the technology advancement efforts will be available.

In further support of the TD&I program, NREL and DOE plan to host an open house in summer 2018 to provide an in-depth overview of NREL’s technology characterization and development resources, and inform attendees about potential partnership opportunities with NREL.  The open house will focus on current needs and gaps in wind-environmental instrumentation development and opportunities to optimize technology components and develop more advanced technologies.

For more information on the TD&I program, to view slides from the 2017 open house, or for information on the upcoming open house (when available), please visit https://www.nrel.gov/wind/technology-development-innovation.html.