Rhode Island-based Aquanis Inc. has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of $224,969 to accelerate the development of the company’s wind power technology.
Specifically, the grant will go toward further developing and testing a device that Aquanis says can improve the efficiency and extend the service life of utility-scale wind turbines.
The Aquanis system features a blade-mounted plasma flow actuator, which is a software-controlled, solid-state electrical device that the company says is simple and inexpensive. The system is based on patented technology developed at the University of Notre Dame.
The six-month NSF grant will fund the development of a new actuator design that is expected to at least double the efficiency of the device, according to Aquanis.
“We are excited about this Phase I SBIR grant, which will give us the opportunity to make the technology viable at ever larger scales,” says Neal Fine, CEO of Aquanis. “The simplicity of our plasma actuator technology provides the basis for an inexpensive, no-moving-parts control system that will allow wind turbines to react instantly to changes in the wind.”
The company has also been awarded an Innovation Voucher grant from the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. The $50,000 funding will support the company’s research partners at Brown University’s School of Engineering. The grant will provide access to Brown researchers who have developed advanced computational fluid dynamics tools that will assist in Aquanis’ product design.
“Brown’s computational resources will help to cut years off of our product development cycle,” adds Fine.