GE gets US grant to design 3-D printed wind turbine blades

LM Wind Power blades. Image credit: LM Wind Power.

The US Department of Energy has awarded a grant to GE Research, GE Renewable Energy, and LM Wind Power to design and manufacture of 3-D printed wind turbine blades.

The 25-month project will see GE business units partnering with the Oakridge National Lab and the National Renewable Energy Lab.

Under the $6.7m project, the partners will develop and demonstrate an integrated additive manufacturing process for novel high- performance blade designs for the future of large rotors.

A full-size blade tip ready to be structurally tested will be delivered as part of the project. It will also involve delivery of three blade tips that will be installed on a wind turbine.

It will focus on low-cost thermoplastic skin coupled with printed reinforcement.

The project will contribute to lowering manufacturing cost by providing lighter weight blades made with more recyclable materials.

GE Renewable Energy advanced manufacturing leader Matteo Bellucci said: “We are excited to partner with the DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office, as well as with our world’s class partners to introduce a highly innovative Advanced Manufacturing and Additive Process to completely revolutionize the state of the art of wind blade manufacturing.

“Additive Manufacturing can bring a step change in cost and performance competitiveness in the wind industry and help GE Renewable Energy support our customers in driving the energy transition farther and faster.”