GE Research, GE Renewable Energy and LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business, were recently selected by the U.S. 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 $6.7 million project to develop and demonstrate an integrated additive manufacturing process for novel high-performance blade designs for the future of large rotors.

“This grant will greatly help LM Wind Power to accelerate our design and manufacturing technology program,” says Torben K. Jacobsen, senior director of advanced technology systems at LM Wind Power. “It is also a clear acknowledgment of the advanced technical engineering capabilities in our two technology hubs in Greenville, S.C., and New Orleans, La. We look forward to work with our partners in this program and deliver tangible outcomes including the use of recyclable materials and reduced manufacturing waste.”

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 and providing lighter weight blades made with more recyclable materials. 

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