Below is the text version of the Technology Development and Innovation Informational Webinar, presented on September 25, 2017.
Elise DeGeorge: Thank you everyone for joining the technology development and innovation RFP informational webinar. We have a lot of information we'll be sharing with you, likely will take 30 to 45 minutes, probably not the full hour, leaving time for questions you might have.
Our agenda covers the goals of our technology development and innovation program. The purpose of the program and of course, the requirements for this particular request for proposals. We'll share with you information about NREL overall and on the National Wind Technology Center’s site. We'll share with you some case studies on Wind Wildlife Mitigation technology efforts that have taken place here at the National Wind Technology Center. We'll go through the process by which you can ask questions about this request for proposals or where you can go for more information and then to the extent possible, we'll answer your questions live on this webinar and if we're not able to answer it, we will capture your questions and funnel it through the formal questions and answers process as part of this RFP.
Here some deadlines that we'll be going through in the course of this presentation, but this is related to how you can ask questions that we are not able to answer as part of this webinar. You need to send in your technical questions no later than September 29th and we will respond to those questions within a week, so by October 6th and then there's a different set of questions, the due date for a second set of questions that's listed below that, but we'll go through this a little later in the presentation as well.
Also, as you saw in the RFP, your questions should be submitted formally to William Algiene at NREL and his email is here and in other places throughout this presentation. Transcripts and slides for this webinar will be made available and placed on our technology developmental and innovation website. The URL is here. You will have these slides you can get to, so more information on our TD and I program.
In addition, this webinar is being recorded and also wanted to assure you that all questions that are asked on this presentation, on this webinar will be shared publicly.
A little bit about the RFP. Much of this information to follow is indeed in our RFP and our statement of work, so we're not going to read these slides verbatim, but we -- DOE has funded us to launch into a technology development and innovation initiative to support development early to mid-technology readiness level options for mitigation. It's to ensure that we have continued evaluation and development of effective and cost effective teacher solutions and allow developers to access the capabilities at NREL before testing at an operational wind farm.
Essentially, we're focusing on TRL 3 through 5. The definitions are listed here in shaded light blue. The purpose of this program is to support efforts to take you at least two levels along the TRL spectrum. The reason we are supporting the low TRLs is really to get, if you look at this figure on the lower right, there's a lot of difficulty in getting technologies through from pilot to demonstration, a commercial demonstration and to ensure business success.
What we are doing is we are helping to infuse that support in early stage development in order to get through, have more momentum to get through the more challenging portions of technology development.
Also, we were hoping that as you look at the TRL of your specific technology, you might say, "My technology is already very advanced." We want to talk to you about the idea that there might be many components of your technology that is indeed very advanced, but there might be a portion that is at a very low TRL for a particular purpose, so think about that. Think about your system and the components that really make up your system because there might be certain elements of your system that could indeed fit into this request for proposal.
We released this RFP on August 31. We intend to award two fixed price with price participation sub contracts. Sub contract each with an 18-month period of performance. Up to $80,000 will be available, can be available in direct funds to the partner with remaining funds used for NREL activities in support of the partner's technology goals. Of course, that would be discussed, the distribution of funds would be discussed following your selection as a partner and would be negotiated in a way that would maximize the contribution based on the capabilities of the partner organization and what NREL can do to help.
A 20% price participation is required on the portion of funds that would be allocated to the partner. There's a definition on what we mean by price participation. This is just taken out of the RFP. We have two proposed partnership mechanisms. If funding is required for you as the sub-contractor, then we would get under a sub contract partnership and of course, if no funding was required, we could get into another type of partnership called CRADA, so we can talk about that more. If you have any questions on that, you can ask that during Q and A or ask it through the formal questions process.
We wanted to assure you that we're strongly committed to the protection of your intellectual property throughout the project. We know that's at the top of many of your minds, so we wanted to assure you that your IP is indeed protected throughout this project.
The RFP consists of two stages. Stage one is a concept paper. It's one page and it's due on October 13 by 4 PM Mountain time. The purpose of this concept paper is to really, not waste your time, to make sure that you are offering a project that fits within the confines on this particular request or proposal and so we don't want you to put in extra effort if the project doesn't fit within some basic assumptions of this project, of this TD and I program. We'll let you know whether or not to proceed to stage two of the RFP and we'll let you know via letter no later than October 30, 2017.
If you are asked to proceed to stage two, you'll be asked to prepare a full proposal to include a detailed description of your work efforts with associated deliverables. It will be five pages and those are due November 20 at 4 PM.
The concept paper will assess the criteria in which we'll be assessing the concept paper is technology applicability, viability and relevancy. We ask that you include a description of the technology and how you propose to utilize the assets and capabilities at the NWTC to achieve your objectives. We would like you to include what you are intending to do and hoping to achieve during the course of the partnership with NREL. We'd also ask you to include evidence of the technology by ability, relevancy and the extent to which your technology will bridge a gap currently seen in the Wind Wildlife Monitoring and Mitigation sector. We have submittal instructions and formatting instructions within the request for proposals.
If you are asked to proceed to stage two, that is a five-page proposal. Again, submittal instructions, formatting are provided in the RFP and we are accepting applicability to this project through three criteria. One is technical merit, feasibility and impact, which will be worth 50% of your score. The second criterion is partnership commitment and that's worth 30% of your score and then criterion three is organizational solvency, which is worth 20% of your score.
I'm not going to read this criterion, but the details are stated in the request for proposals. We want to understand the current state of your technology and where you would like to get to, and the applicability of course of NREL facilities and staff to support that advancement, how committed you are to the partnership, and the viability and solvency of your organization.
The scope of work we're asking you to propose on is a combination of technology characterization and technology advancement to foster incremental improvement of your technology. Again, it'll be performed in a partnership arrangement, ideally with a minimum of two characterization trials to allow for data collection to inform areas of improvement. It would essentially be a testing and characterization, and then followed by development, then another round of testing and characterization using field trials or other applicable approaches, followed by more incremental development of your technology. We are focusing on low- to mid-TRL detection and/or deterrent technology, or the integration of the technologies into a wind-turbine control system to inform an improvement program.
Again, the delegation of activities between NREL and the partner would be finalized during negotiations. And with the results were expected to lead to an increase in the number of mitigation technologies that are ready to be tested in operational wind facilities. Tasks include technology characterization and the protocol by which you will be characterizing your technology, followed by technology development. We'll disseminate your technology advancement results, and I'll explain that a little more in the next slide. We'll ask for a draft and a final technical report. As this relationship is interactive in nature, the idea is for the partner to plan to travel to the NWTC at regular intervals, and these could be negotiated also following selection.
A little bit more about the deliverables. Some of these are worth repeating and just discussing in a little more depth. We're asking for an initial technology characterization protocol summary and a project schedule, a summary on the characterization of your technology. This third bullet is a way to get information in the public realm in a way that you the partner are most comfortable with. We're expecting you to support a minimum of one webinar and/or a public presentation on your technology advancement efforts alongside a short public-facing summary document. But we want to underscore the fact that the public-facing information will be done in a way that you as the partner are comfortable, and not revealing any IP that you do not want to reveal at this time. We do want to have elements of your project to be shared with the public and to inform the industry as a whole. We are asking for a draft and final technical report which is not public-facing, and of course we'll be asking for regular quarterly reports on the accomplishments, next steps, status, et cetera.
As we were developing our technology development and innovation program, we really went through all of our assets and our staff expertise. We want to share that with you on the next slide. We collected information from past and current wind-wildlife partners. We held a bunch of interviews and in person meetings to understand more about what the industry needs, what would be most useful for the NWTC to focus on in order to advance technologies. Through these activities, we revealed NREL's core capabilities to advance technology through the development of a pipeline with a goal of funneling to high-TRL commercial wind farm testing, core capabilities in multidisciplinary engagement, inherent flexibility and modularity, critical thinking and problem solving, and bridging complementary efforts and experts among the wind-wildlife community.
I should mention we also held an open house this past July. Many people from industry did attend, and the information from that open house is shared on our TD&I website. We will continue to hold open houses in order to make sure that the support that NWTC provides year over year remains relevant and useful for industry, so any information and ideas in that regard are always welcome. We'd love to hear them.
Now Jeroen van Dam is going to share information on the National Wind Technology Center.
Jeroen van Dam: As Elise mentioned, we'd like to offer the use of our facilities and resources for performing a lot of this work. On the bottom half of the slide is an aerial view of our National Wind Technology Center, looking west where most of our winds come from. You'll see there a series of met towers and turbines. If you want to go to the next slide.
We've got a total of 305 acres here. We have an environmental assessment in place, which basically draw out the boundaries of what we can perform on our site. For each individual project, we then have to do need by a review to assess the environmental impact, but we do not need building permits or any of the other things that you might need elsewhere because we are on federal land.
Our facility is a secured facility, which means that there's a fence around it, there's security guards, and we've got security systems in place. Leaving equipment on the site is fairly safe. We can provide if desired, a great amount of visibility to your project. We get a lot of visitors to our site ranging from all parts of society, from politicians to just local farmers and then other stakeholders from the industry. Then, we have a very strong safety culture. We're taking that very serious, and I think we hope to bring that to the table in a constructive way.
Besides the turbines that are out in the field that I'll talk about here in a little bit, we also have several laboratory facilities. Not all of them we think are rightly applicable to this RFP, except perhaps the one shown on the top right, which is our composites manufacturing, education, and training facility where we can make composite structures fairly quickly here on site. If there's any thoughts about integrating sensors or instrumentation into blades or other composites, components, that would be something that could happen there.
The other ones are our structural testing laboratory, which might still be useful as well if you want to deploy something and then you want to know that it isn't going to fly off the turbine or break. Then, on the other side is the [dynamometer] facilities, which probably don't have as much of an applicability.
One of the turbines on our site is what we call the DOE 1.5 wind turbine. It's a one-and-a-half megawatt rated turbine. 80-meter hub height. 77-meter diameter. It is instrumented as part of the facility. We see this as an R&D facility, and so we have several projects going on on it. On the next slide I'll show the instrumentation that's present.
Currently, we don't have a lot of access into the controller, so the turbine is really just an off-the-shelf turbine. We're working towards getting a more open controller where you might be able to tap into the controller and [inject] with the controller in calendar year 2018.
On the next slide then. As I said, there's quite a bit of instrumentation on the turbine. We've got tower loads, shaft loads, blade loads, although we're at normal operating signals from power levels, RPMs, and then quite a few SCADA systems, and they all are continuously being collected. Then, in front or upwind of this turbine there's a 135-meter met tower which is depicted on the right-hand side there, which are also continuous data stream coming off which is full of publicly available information.
Then there's two other turbines further down the side. They're 600 kilowatt turbines, a bit smaller but there. These are completely also ours, and we have complete access into the control system. These are the ones that we use for our controls research work. If you have any project that needs direct interaction, not just tie-in and feedback but interaction with the control systems, these turbines are completely suitable for that purpose. Once again, there's instrumentation existing on these turbines that are made available as part of this project.
Then, we also have some turbines here that are partnership turbines. These are not owned by NREL. These are owned and operated by these industry partners. We cannot guarantee access to these turbines, but in the past we've been able to successfully negotiate use of these turbines for similar wind and wildlife projects or even other projects. And so, these turbines here are just basically listed just for information, to give you an idea of what's available and what OEM's we might be able to contact for you and work with to perhaps get some exposure to these manufacturers.
Besides the turbines, we've got quite a bit of heavy equipment here onsite that can be made available so, ranging from fork lifts, aerial lifts, boom trucks. We do have a machine shop onsite, not that we would recommend using that for the entire project but if there's any kind of last moment machining, adjustments needing to be done, that is available here onsite. Normal kind of hand and power tools, beta position systems but also lightning detection systems so we have two lightning detection systems here onsite, which data streams are also available to these projects.
And then last I think Elise already alluded to it, we've got about 100, 150 people here onsite, many of them with decades of experience in wind energy, ranging from turbine design, loads controls, instrumentation, sensors, how to wire things and so this resource is readily available to any of these projects.
Elise DeGeorge: Okay, thank you, Jeroen. Jason Roadman is going to share with you some example case studies. We want to underscore the fact that these are, what has been performed in the past but we're open to any new ideas, things that we could possibly do here at the NWTC so please don't feel constrained by these case studies, rather be inspired to think, to think outside the box.
Jason Roadman: Thanks, Elise, exactly what she said, these are not direct drop-ins to what we're looking for, they're more examples of things that we've done in the past that can provide some inspiration, similarities to the kinds of things that this program wants to further but like, Elise said they're definitely not a direct drop in for what we're expecting in the proposals here. So, the things that we can do to help, a lot of analysis of existing data, lots of different fashions, there's a lot of expertise in the lab not only up here at the NWTC but at the main campus for maps and statistical data. Lots of image analysis, lots of engineering expertise with the turbines themselves as well as data acquisition systems and signal quality, making sure that we can help you with any kind of noise issues we've got in your data streams.
I've done lots of different field experiments, we've got a broad group of folks who are experienced in experimental design and how to best come up with something that'll help you validate what you're looking for. Lots of different technologies that we can apply to those experiments including unmanned aircraft and NGPS, cameras, all sorts of different things and we've got a group of folks who've got a really varied background. So, necessity being the mother of invention, we can come up with some, we're hoping some pretty good brainstorming sessions to really develop some other ideas as well.
Three specific examples that we'll talk about and I'm going to bring Lee Jay for the camera side of things. We've done a study in the past on the two medium sized turbines that Jeroen mentioned for impact detection. That work was supported under a fellow with DOE. There's also been some camera studies, looking for birds and bats and then the one that I'm most familiar with, we did some experiments with some live eagles and some falconry. Where we were using both visual cameras and radars to track birds in the vicinity of our wind plant. In simulating some experiments where that detection could then be used in the future to curtail operations when the birds are close by. So we're going to dive into those three. As I mentioned before, most of these technologies, the base building blocks weren't necessarily novel but it was the combination of how the sensors and the ideas were put together that catalyzed a unique development and that's a lot of what we're open to facilitate going forward with some of this.
So, impact detection on the turbine blades, this was some work done with Roberto Albertani and his group at Oregon State University. Their success has led to them getting some additional funding under DOE's Fellow for Eagle Impact Minimization, topic area two. Which they had a series of sensors both visual sensors and accelerometers and microphones on the blades and they used that whole sensor array to detect when the wildlife, in this case simulated by tennis balls either raw tennis balls or full of water, impacted the blade. So, the experiment was designed you can see on the left hand side, that's an air cannon, a solenoid activated, basically a high powered potato gun. And what young engineer, technician wouldn't like to then play with a high powered version of this. We had plenty of volunteers and I know that Roberto's got plenty of volunteers in his group as well. They got some good results. They were able to actually detect the impact of the tennis balls on the blades and that's a big part of what led to them getting additional funding going forward. I'll let Lee Jay talk about the cameras.
Lee Jay Fingersh: They did a test that involved placing two different kinds of cameras. One is a visual camera that converts infrared at night, in other words a relatively ordinary security camera and a thermal infrared camera to look for wildlife. We placed this system in four different locations with different focal lengths, fields of view and so on. And included in some of the tests an infrared illuminator, which is the large twin black box thing on the left. By placing this system in four different locations we could compare which cameras did best under which circumstances in which orientations of which fields of view over a wide range of meteorological conditions, including day, night and fog, precipitation and so on. And this therefore allowed us to make some conclusions about approaches that worked better for some things and not as well for others. And what worked, what technologies would need to be improved in order to do, to fill in some of the holes that other technologies left.
Jason Roadman: We can go back one second. One thing that is neat that we also want to see if we can catalyze with some of these proposals going forward is partnering folks that otherwise wouldn't be able to necessarily know about what's going on and so that the work that Lee Jay just mentioned has gotten dovetailed, has been dovetailed together with two other researchers. One of them, an Enron researcher, Tom Ryan, he's got some microphones that are now mounted on a wind turbine of ours and he's using those in conjunction with Paul Cryan's cameras from the USGS so those guys were both doing independent research. They had their sensors located at different points on the site, we've got them co-located now and they're getting better results because of that co-location so we're open to those kinds of partnerships as well.
Lastly we did some work with eagles and falcons, trying to compare the visual and radar detection systems, validate their performance. So the birds carried a little GPS sensor, off the shelf, GPS sensor was about a $50 sensor, nothing fancy. You can see it in the upper right hand picture, that clipped to the bird and that GPS was used as the assumed truth as to where the bird was and compared to where the systems actually thought the birds were. And we conducted it here on the site for a couple of reasons, we had access to our facilities, the folks that were using those detection systems were very familiar with our site and our site provided the ability to have real world situational reflections and set up for similar to what they would experience in a wind farm.
As well as we had the ability to really control the test conditions better than you would in say a production wind farm where you've got to keep all the turbines running for power production purposes. Specifically, that meant that we've got the ability to turn off our turbines when necessary, which is - tests like this when you're using live animals is very important. The safety of the birds was our primary concern and we set up the experiment accordingly to that. So the birds were taken up in a man lift. You can see them there in their carrier, and once they were interacting well with their trainers that were on the ground, they were released from the carrier. And they would fly the general track that we wanted them to, and we compared where the detection systems thought they were to what the GPS said.
If you want to go to the next slide. Oh, that's the only one. I'll mention that just like Roberto's impact detection and the successes he had leading him to become a foul recipient, Laufer Wind's successes on that project that I just mentioned with the falcons and the eagles also led to them becoming a recipient of the latest foul and some additional funding that goes along with this, and IdentiFlight.
Elise DeGeorge: Thank you, Jason, Lee Jay, Jeroen. Now we're going into the section where we'll talk about how you can submit questions or get more information on what we do here at the NWTC as it relates to wind wildlife communication technologies. We stated this earlier, but if we aren't able to answer your question here we'll answer it through the formal process. We need to receive your question in writing no later than September 29th, and then we will respond to all the questions formally by October 6th. And then the second round of questions are due to us by November 6th, and we'll respond to those by November 13. And all questions should be submitted to William.firstname.lastname@example.org who's in our Contracts and Business Services group.
To learn more about what we do in this technology development and innovation program, we have a TD&I website. The link is here, if you go to nrel.gov/wind/technology-development-innovation.html you can get right to the site. You can look at meteorological conditions. There's links to previous projects we've done in this area, some of which we discussed here in this webinar. There's slides, presentations and notes from the open house there that we held July 20, that I mentioned earlier. And we will continue to update this site as more relevant information becomes available, including the continuing work we do with partners that come out of this request for proposals.
We're going to hold another open house in FY18 and the information from that open house will be on this website. Or if you'd like direct information on that just let us know. It will likely be in the summertime again: May, June or July of 2018.
So now is the time that we'll take some questions.
Bethany Straw: So to submit questions in your control box from the webinar platform, there's a Q&A box where you can type in your questions and submit. It’s relatively simple so go ahead at this time any questions that you may have, find that Q&A box, enter your questions and then we will read them off and address those that we can on this webinar. And the rest we will keep a record of and respond to formally, through the formal RFP process.
Alright, so great! We've got a few questions coming through, so I'll go ahead and read them off and then our team here will respond as appropriate.
Q: Can you release flocks of bats?
A: I think that's a highly involved question that we'd have to investigate further. We can definitely investigate it and talk about what issues there would be, and -- The first question I would ask in return is, where are the bats coming from? But, maybe we can pursue that one offline. It's an intriguing idea, but I think we should definitely pursue--
Q: Is it possible to have access to this presentation?
A: Yes, the presentation's being recorded and we will have transcription produced. And those, along with the slides, will be shared publicly within two weeks on the website.
Q: Is it possible to do optical measurements on falcons or eagles when stationary?
Jason Rhodeman: I'm not sure I understand the question.
Q: What I mean is, measure the brightness of light reflected.
A: Yes, we could do that sort of thing. I assume you mean on the ground, or perched somewhere. We can do optical measurements if we need to.
Yeah, and we've got a good relationship with the local falconry community and hawking clubs. As well as some contacts for eagles nationwide. Get you some access to some birds, hopefully.
Q: So the next questions is in regards to the 20% price participation, section 4 of the RSP. Is the 20% included or added to the amount of the proposal? In other words, if X dollars is the offer budget, is the total acceptable in the proposal X plus 20% or X with 20% participation included?
A: The 20% is added. So, yeah. Yes.
Bethany Straw: So if you didn't hear that on the line, Moe advises that the 20% is added. 20% above the amount that goes to the partner.
Q: So the next question is on the allocation of funds. It is stated $80,000 is available in direct funds. Can you discuss this in more detail? Specifically, mid-life to now, how are -- if we are able to also include indirect cost? Are we able to include indirect cost?
Q: Is it reasonable to assume we would test our equipment during two one-week blocks, or do you want a longer testing period?
A: It would likely be a longer testing period, depending on your testing needs. I mean, if you need a certain amount of wind, or wind conditions, it becomes one thing. If you don't need anything like that, but you just need to be out here for a week to collect some data, you don't need any special circumstances, then of course you're two times one-week period would suffice. But if you need diverse environmental conditions I would plan for something longer.
Bethany Straw: Okay, that's all we have so far. So if you have any additional questions that you would like to ask, or come up after we close the webinar, please remember to submit them to William.email@example.com and we will address through the formal process.
Q: Is there a way to attach devices to the bottom of the taller turbines other than the card?
A: The DOE 1.5 for sure. If you want to attach something to say the Siemens or the Gamesa or Alstom turbines we would need permission from those manufacturers. And we've been fairly successful in either using magnet mounting or tremendously long hose clamps to attach things to the tower bases.
But physically, yes.
Q: I assume that this proposal is for all birds across all geographic regions. Is this correct?
A: Yeah, this first solicitation is focused on eagles and bats, and this is in line with the current DOE focus. There will be additional, hopefully if funding is available, additional solicitations following, again it’s with pending funding availability that may broaden the scope.
Q: Can we get wind and weather data from NREL for the eastern coast.
A: I'm guessing there are wind maps out in the public domain, as far as I know. That's as much as I know is available.
Q: Do you have recommendations on how to make connections with NREL and explore further collaboration. We understand after today questions need to be submitted formally, but is there a limitation in how or when we can discuss technical or collaboration details with NREL NWTC personnel?
Elise DeGeorge: Outside of the RFP, if they’re not submitting?
Bethany Straw: That's unclear.
Elise DeGeorge: Okay.
Bethany Straw: I would recommend that any questions that you have, initially submit through William Algiene and then he will be able to direct you on what the appropriate contact or process is, depending on the nature of your question and intention on participating in that request for proposal.
Q: Is there a high-res map of this facility available?
A: I think there are several maps online and then Google Maps is likely your best bet as far as to see exactly what is where. So if you go to the website, I think NREL/ I think it’s NWTC you should be able to find the sitemap and then Google Maps on top of that has a wealth of information.
Lee Jay: Do you have anything in addition to that?
Lee Jay: Depending on the specific request, we can supply more information on details of facility locations if there are things like laboratory spaces for larger scale things as Jeroen said are available on Google Earth and the wind portion of the NREL website does have a link on the homepage at nrel.gov. Sorry, it's called nrel.gov/wind but I don't remember --
Jeroen van Dam: Yeah, I think that's correct.
Bethany Straw: Okay, well, thank you very much for your interest and your participation. We look forward to hearing from you during the proposal process and working with you in the future.