NREL designs turbine spars for viability of metal AM

Marine energy is a promising segment that harnesses kinetic energy from natural phenomena like water currents and tides and converts it in clean energy that can power local coastal communities.

The 3D printed turbine spar the NREL team has been developing is designed to fit in with existing tidal turbine systems. Various materials and printing methods have been tested. After some evaluation, thermoplastic 3D printing was found not suitable for this specific application; the best candidates for producing tidal turbine spars were stainless steel and laser metal deposition.This could facilitate the rapid prototyping of new marine energy devices for various blue economy sectors including aquaculture and microgrids, which could power coastal communities. It would also make it easier for coastal towns and communities to replace worn components in their marine energy systems by printing parts locally, leading to less reliance on supply chains.

Currently, the 3D printed tidal turbine spar is undergoing tests at NREL’s facility, including fatigue testing and load testing up to 1,900 pounds. This iteration of the turbine spar was 3D printed using a robotic system from Ai Build and a stainless steel material.

Following testing, the NREL researchers will continue developing and fine tuning the 3D printed turbine spar’s design as well as explore other potential applications for AM in marine energy.

Previous articleTaihan secures USD 80.52M Power Project in US
Next articleUnderground stainless steel sewage tanks
Stainless Steel World is part of The KCI Media Group, a group of companies focused on building and sustaining global communities in the flow control industries. We publish news on a daily basis and connect business-to-business professionals through our online communities, publications, conferences and exhibitions.