NREL's Thermoplastic Blade Research Dives Deep With Verdant Power's Tidal Energy Turbines (Text Version)

This is a text version of the video NREL's Thermoplastic Blade Research Dives Deep With Verdant Power's Tidal Energy Turbines.

"My name is Robynne Murray, and I'm an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory working on wind and water energy systems."

"Over the last decade, NREL has been working closely with Verdant Power to help bring their tidal energy system from a working prototype to commercialization."

"In this research measurement campaign, NREL is using their expertise in blade design, manufacturing, and characterization to validate a novel thermoplastic composite system for water turbines and measure the loads on an operational tidal turbine."

"We are standing in the NREL Flatirons Campus building 251 High Bay. Traditionally, this high bay has been used for wind turbine blade structural validation. More recently, we are starting to do water power work in this facility."

"The primary objective of this research project is a comparison between thermoset resin systems and thermoplastic resin systems. Traditionally, composites have been made using thermoset resin systems, like polyester resins or epoxy resins. These two-part chemical systems, when mixed together, form a resin that, once cured, is cured for life. A thermoplastic resin system has the potential to be recycled and reused at the end of its life."

"Thermoplastic composite components have been shown at a small scale to have improved seawater or saturated properties. But nobody has done this at a large scale yet. So we're really interested in looking at how these materials can potentially improve the structural properties of a blade at a full scale."

"Verdant's role in this project is to supply us with the blade tooling and the geometry so we can produce identical thermoplastic blades to their epoxy blades that they've already manufactured as well as to operate and deploy and retrieve this turbine in the East River for the six-month deployment period."

"This work will demonstrate a potentially game changing material for marine applications at a meaningful scale as well as produce loads data for a full-scale turbine that we can use to validate design tools to de risk future deployments for the industry at a whole."

"We couldn't be doing this without the strength of our collaboration with our partners, Verdant Power, in particular. They're allowing us to use their site and use their turbine to test new technologies. We're also working with other national labs, Sandia National Lab and Pacific Northwest National Lab, to answer a range of questions under this project that are really fundamental research questions that are facing the tidal power industry. And of course, we couldn't be doing this without U.S. Department of Energy support. We're so grateful for their contribution and leadership in this industry."

"Together with the Water Power Technologies Office and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, we will be helping build sustainable communities and solving some of marine energy's biggest challenges. Our systems are lowering the cost of energy due to their scalability, ease of deployment and retrieval, and can be used by local marine engineering companies around the world."

Learn more about:

  • NREL's marine energy research at www.nrel.gov/water/marine-energy.html
  • NREL's CoMET facility at www.nrel.gov/manufacturing/comet-wind-blade-resin.html
  • Verdant Power's RITE Project at www.verdantpower.com
  • Water Power Technologies Office at energy.gov/eere/water/about-water-power-technologies-office-wpto