GE Research, GE Renewable Energy, and LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business were recently selected by the Department of Energy to research the design and manufacture of 3-D printed wind turbine blades. The GE business units will partner with the Oakridge National Lab and the National Renewable Energy Lab on a 25-month $6.7M project to develop and demonstrate an integrated additive manufacturing process for novel high- performance blade designs for the future of large rotors. The project will deliver a full-size blade tip ready to be structurally tested, as well as three blade tips that will be installed on a wind turbine. The proposed project will focus on low-cost thermoplastic skin coupled with printed reinforcement.
This project will advance the competitiveness of both onshore and offshore wind energy when commercialized, by lowering manufacturing cost, increasing supply chain flexibility, providing lighter weight blades made with more recyclable materials. All of this will help reduce the cost of Wind Energy. Design cycle time is also reduced enabling more wind farm optimization, which will yield further increases in farm annual energy production and reductions in the levelized cost of energy.