Rutgers Professor Works On Software For Designing Floating Turbines

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Onur Bilgen, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Rutgers University, is using a federal grant to develop software for designing floating offshore wind turbines.

Bilgen was recently awarded a $1,356,872 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). His project was one of 13 projects receiving ARPA-E funding to develop new technologies for floating offshore wind turbines using the discipline of control co-design.

Bilgen and his team of faculty, funded graduate research assistants and post-doctoral researchers will use the award to develop software for designing highly efficient and cost-effective floating wind turbines. By combining two approaches – control co-design and mixed-fidelity modeling for design optimization – the team is aiming for the development of an offshore wind turbine able to generate electricity efficiently while reducing manufacturing, maintenance and operational costs.

According to Bilgen, although offshore wind turbines tend to be more efficient than their onshore counterparts, they cost considerably more.

“Without accurate and complete modeling of a wind turbine with all of its interacting components, such as wind, water, structural, electrical and economic dynamics, we cannot design the best turbine for a given site, and we cannot decisively compare the efficiency metrics or costs of the different designs. Our project aims to enable us to do just this,” he says.

Bilgen and his team plan to use their software to design a turbine that generates more electricity but uses fewer materials to manufacture.

“Others will be able to use our software to design the next generation of wind turbines for their sites that will reduce the cost of electricity for consumers,” he explains.

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