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Megawatt-scale Power-Electronic-Integrated Generator with Controlled Dc Output

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$2,056,280
Location: 
Champaign, IL
Project Term: 
06/03/2019 to 06/02/2022
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Multi-megawatt wind energy conversion systems need large, heavy and complex drivetrains. These drivetrains are one of the most critical components for operation and maintenance and also one of the key limitations to design extra-large turbines. Control Co-Design (CCD) methodologies apply a concurrent engineering approach to optimize system design. CCD techniques could simultaneously develop a new electrical generator and a new power-electronics converter for more efficient extra-large wind turbines for both onshore and offshore applications.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign aims to create the world's most efficient, reliable, and compact wind energy conversion system. Instead of following the traditional approach of building the electrical generator separately from the power electronics converter, and then connecting both to convert the turbine's mechanical power into electrical power, the team will apply CCD methodologies on the generator and converter to substantially reduce the size and weight of the system. The expected results are a significant reduction in the cost of the turbine's main structures (i.e., tower, nacelle, foundation), and an increase in turbine efficiency and reliability. This approach enables wind-energy harvesting systems to move farther offshore to unlock several petawatt (equal to one billion millions watts) hours of energy--untapped in exclusive economic zones extending up to 230 miles from the coastline.
Potential Impact: 
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign wind energy conversion system's ability to capture and transport energy to the shore significantly enhances U.S. economic and energy security through substantive economic and environmental benefits.
Security: 
Diversity of energy resources will help grid resiliency and reduce infrastructure vulnerabilities.
Environment: 
This system's operation will lessen the need for fossil fuel-based electricity generation, which will reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.
Economy: 
This technology could reduce the cost of wind energy and provide an entirely new production option for the offshore wind industry.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz
Project Contact: 
Prof. Arijit Banerjee
Release Date: 
11/15/2018