UMaine, NRG Systems, AWS Truepower, Leosphere form wind energy R&D partnership

Under the agreement, the University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center will design and build a laser-based sensing system that will gather data on offshore wind conditions.

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The University of Maine's (UMaine) Advanced Structures and Composites Center (Orono Maine) announced Oct. 18 a partnership intended to gather measurements of wind activity at "hub height" (that is, at a distance above the water equal to the height of the rotor on an offshore wind turbine) in deepwater locations in the Gulf of Maine. The ASCC's partners are NRG Systems Inc. (Hinesburg, Vt.) which will supply the system that will be used to take the measurements; AWS Truepower LLC (Albany, N.Y.), UMaine’s Physical Oceanography Group, and Leosphere SAS (Orsay, France).

UMaine will design and build a floating system to house a modified WINDCUBE v2 Offshore LIDAR Remote Sensor, supplied by Leosphere, which has been adapted by NRG to the marine environment. The proven, LIDAR sensor reportedly can detect wind conditions using laser technology up to 200m/656 ft above the ocean surface. The floating system that will support it is based on buoy technology developed and tested by UMaine’s Physical Oceanography Group over the past decade in the Gulf of Maine and abroad. AWS Truepower will conduct a campaign to validate the data collected by the floating system.

The buoy system is scheduled for deployment in 2013 at the UMaine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site, an offshore wind and marine hydrokinetic device test site operated by the Advanced Structures and Composites Center and located 10 miles off the coast of Maine.

“This partnership between UMaine and our private industry leaders will advance resource assessment technology and will help propel the U.S. forward in deepwater offshore wind technology development,” said Dr. Habib Dagher, P.E., director of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center. “Floating LIDAR technology, once fully validated, will provide us with a cost-effective method to assess the wind resource in areas traditionally off limits to offshore wind developers.”

With funding from the Maine Technology Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), The Advanced Structures and Composites Center intends to play a leading role in an effort to enable cost-effective measurements of hub-height winds in deepwater where fixed-base wind turbine towers are not feasible. The Center is reportedly actively developing and testing innovative floating wind turbines for deployment in deepwater. Scheduled for deployment in 2013, the Center’s floating turbien tower foundation design will be the first grid-connected floating offshore wind turbine in the U.S. For more information, visit composites.umaine.edu and DeepCwind.org.

The University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center describes itself as a state-of-the-art one-stop-shop for integrated composite materials and structural component development. Located at the University of Maine, the Center offers inhouse capabilities for developing a composite product or structure from the conceptual stage through research, manufacturing of prototypes, comprehensive testing and evaluation, code approval and commercialization.

NRG Systems is an independently owned company that has served the global renewable energy industry for 30 years. Its measurement equipment, turbine health monitoring systems, and LIDAR remote sensors can be found in 150 countries on every continent, serving electric utilities, renewable energy developers, turbine manufacturers, consultants and research institutes. For more information, visit www.nrgsystems.com.

AWS Truepower is a leading providers of renewable energy solutions to developers, investors, utilities, and governments. For more information, visit www.awstruepower.com.

For more information contact:
Elizabeth Viselli
Manager, Global Communications
Advanced Structures and Composites Center
elizabeth.viselli@umit.maine.edu
(207) 581-2831

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