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Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Design Integration for Large Offshore Wind Turbine Blades

S.S. Wang
National Wind Energy Center, University of Houston

Friday, July 12, 2013 15:00-16:00,
Building 101, Lecture Room C
Friday, July 12, 2013 13:00-14:00,
Room 1-4058


For the U.S. wind energy industry to provide 20% of the country’s electricity needs by 2030 to reach our national energy goal, it will need to rapidly ramp up its wind energy production capacity. According to the estimation of American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), over 70,000 new wind turbines will need to be installed in the coming decades with 200 million lbs of new composite turbine blades required per year for the next 20 years. Among various wind resources, offshore wind tends to be stronger and steadier, among many technical, economic and environmental advantages, than onshore wind. To reach the 20% goal, the U.S. wind energy industry has started developing the vast wind resources available offshore of the U. S. coastline. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that U.S. offshore winds have a gross potential of more than 4,000 GW, about four times the nation’s current electricity generating capacity.

To economically harvest offshore wind energy, offshore wind turbines must be of MW-scale size (in the range of 3 to 15 MW). Rotor blades of the large offshore wind turbines will be in excess of 60 m to 120 meter long. To minimize the weight and cost of the MW-scale turbine blades and to ensure their power production as well as overall structural integrity for long-term service offshore, special attention must be given to advanced light-weight materials, manufacturing and innovative design of these large offshore wind rotor blades.

In this presentation, advances and critical issues will be addressed on advanced materials, manufacturing and design integration of large offshore turbine blades, especially for use in the Gulf of Mexico region, including: 1. Advanced light-weight materials for construction of offshore wind turbines and tower structures. 2. Selection and design of offshore structures (floating or fixed) to host the large offshore wind turbine rotors. 3. Interaction and synergistic effects of material tailoring, internal structural configuration, blade geometry and manufacturing on aerodynamic/aeroelastic performance and structural integrity of turbine blade. 4. Manufacturing process and optimal control for fabricating large, thick-wall composite turbine blades (for improvement of cycle time, parts quality and costs). 5. Innovative turbine blade design and hybrid construction to facilitate fabrication, transportation and assembly, at the same time simplifying field installation, repair and/or replacement. 6. Scaling of manufacturing and testing methodology for blade components and scaled blades that could capture the bending/twisting coupling effect on performance and structural integrity of large turbine blades.

Speaker Bio: Su Su Wang is Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Professor in the mechanical engineering department at University of Houston. He is also the director of Composites Engineering and Applications Center (CEAC) for Offshore Exploration and Production Operations in Houston, a consortium of government agencies, international energy industry and the university. Since 2010, he directs the National Wind Energy Center (NWEC), a center of excellence sponsored by US DoE and State of Texas. He earned his Sc. D. degree in 1974 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the faculty of University of Houston, he was Professor of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and Professor of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign during 1977-1991. He also served as Director of the National Center for Composite Materials Research (NCCMR) during 1985-91 at the University of Illinois, a center of excellence funded by U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) for R & D of deep submersibles. He was Distinguished Visiting Professor with Laboratorie de Mechanique et Technologie, Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan, France in 2000 and a lecturer and research associate in Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT during 1974-77. Professor Wang has edited and published seven books and more than 200 papers in referred journals and conference proceedings, and served on editorial boards of various technical journals. He was given many national and international awards for his research on advanced composite materials and structures. His current research focuses on advanced composite materials and structures for aircraft and aero-propulsion systems, deepwater offshore petroleum E & P operations, and innovative large wind energy production systems.

Contact: J. T. Fong

Note: Visitors from outside NIST must contact Cathy Graham; (301) 975-3800; at least 24 hours in advance.

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Last updated: 2013-07-01.