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University of Minnesota secures US DOE grant for offshore wind energy computational research

EBR Staff Writer Published 12 July 2016

The University of Minnesota has secured a $1.2m grant from the US Department of Energy for the development of high-resolution computational algorithms to simulate offshore wind turbines and farms.

The project is being undertaken jointly by Sandia National Laboratories and the university's EOLOS Wind Energy Research Consortium, established by the DOE's Office for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The grant is part of $43m amount awarded by the agency to encourage offshore wind energy development in the next five years.

The DOE plans to reduce the cost of wind energy via technology development as part of the developmnet of a national energy strategy.

The move ensures competitiveness with other sources of electrical generation. The DOE also seeks to reduce deployment times and uncertainties that currently limit offshore wind projects development.

In the coming three years, the project seeks to develop and validate computational tools that can simulate atmospheric turbulence and wave effects in offshore wind farms.

It will also providecomputational tools that can improve design of offshore turbines and floating platforms and optimise the layout of offshore wind farms.

Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) director Fotis Sotiropoulos and University of Minnesota department of civil engineering professor James L. Record said: “Until now, wind energy research by St. Anthony Falls Laboratory and the EOLOS consortium has centered around land-based wind energy.

“This project expands our research into offshore wind. This is significant because offshore wind is a critical piece of the puzzle for reaching the national goal of 20 percent of electricity from wind by 2030.”

An additional funding of $120,000 is being contributed by the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE).