Sandia Awarded For 3D-Printed, Subscale Wind Turbine Blades

Sandia National Laboratories has won five awards from the 2017 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) for its work to develop and commercialize innovative technologies, including one for subscale wind turbine blades.

The annual FLC awards program recognizes federal laboratories and their industry partners for outstanding technology transfer achievements, says Sandia.

Along with four other Sandia technologies, the consortium’s Mid-Continent and Far West regions recognized Sandia’s 3D printing for subscale wind turbine blades, which speeds up production for blade prototypes.

The lab partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and won a Regional Partnership Award for the production of the 3D-printed blades. Together, the labs are working to shorten the production cycle of new blades and reduce costs.

Due to the substantial cost of making complex wind turbine blade molds, trying out new blade designs is currently expensive, according to Sandia. Therefore, the labs designed the subscale blade to replicate the wake of a full-scale blade. It was one-third the size, and it cost 5% of standard, full-scale blades. With 3D printing, the mold-building process is less labor-intensive, as well, says Sandia.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

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