Durham team's small role could have great impact on offshore energy tech

Durham team's small role could have great impact on offshore energy tech

Calendar Icon Nov 25, 2019      Person Bust Icon By Karl Vogel     RSS Feed  RSS  -  Submit a Story

Phil Barutha, assistant professor of construction programs in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction.
Phil Barutha, assistant professor of construction programs in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction.

The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium selected RCAM Technologies, a U.S. startup company, for its second round of wind research and development technology projects, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering will play a key role in the $1.1 million project.

Funding for the two-year project will support the development of a concrete offshore wind turbine foundation that does not require a heavy-lift vessel for installation. The project scope includes design and feasibility assessments of the fixed-bottom structure that would support a 15-megawatt turbine.

Philip Barutha, assistant professor of construction programs in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction, will head up research that will help to develop and determine the feasibility of the assembly process. Working with about 10 percent of the grant’s funding, Barutha’s team will perform high-level constructability analysis, logistics, and commercial feasibility analysis.

“We may be playing a smaller role in this big project, but this work has the potential to have a great impact on our industry and our nation’s energy infrastructure,” Barutha said.

“This could give places like the East Coast another economically feasible option for energy that they don’t currently have. Right now, there are very few wind turbine developments off the coast of New York producing energy, and very few in the region as a whole. If we can find economically feasible solutions to provide greener and renewable energy, developers and energy suppliers would have more reason to choose this type of a project.”

RCAM is dedicated to developing and commercializing innovative land-based wind and offshore support structures using advanced concrete manufacturing technologies.

“We’re supporting a U.S.-based startup company, which is creating jobs in a field that is growing. Supporting entrepreneurs in small, innovative businesses is something that is very important.”

Along with Nebraska, RCAM’s primary partners on the project include WSP USA, NREL, Esteyco and RRD Engineering. NETSCo, Cathie Associates USA, Precast Systems Inc., VSL/Structural, the University of Delaware, Tufts University, and the University of California Irvine will provide advisory and technical support.



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