Atmosphere to Electrons (A2e) is a multi-year U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research initiative targeting significant reductions in the cost of wind energy through an improved understanding of the complex physics governing wind flow into and through wind farms. Better insight into the flow physics has the potential to reduce wind farm energy losses by up to 20%, to reduce annual operational costs by hundreds of millions of dollars, and to improve project financing terms to more closely resemble traditional capital projects.
A2e's goals and research priorities are defined around three scales of interest:
- Mesoscale (Atmospheric Science): Includes mesoscale, planetary boundary layer, and wind plant inflow physics. Key metrics include:
- Predicted power performance probability (P50/P99)
- 24-hour ahead forecasted power production accuracy
- Annual curtailment probability
- Wind Plant Scale: Includes wind plant inflow, complex terrain, and wake physics. Key metrics include:
- Wind plant losses
- Wind flow uncertainties
- Operation and maintenance costs
- Wind Turbine Scale: Includes wind turbine inflow, rotor loading, and wake creation. Key metrics include:
- Turbine capital cost
- Component fatigue life
- Tip speed and acoustic signatures
Achieving these opportunities will require a diverse set of expertise and significant resources. As a result, the Wind Program has selected subject matter experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to assist in integrated program planning for the A2e initiative. These laboratories have access to world class experimental testing facilities as well as core expertise in topics critical to the success of A2e, including atmospheric sciences, wind plant aerodynamics, turbine technology development, and high-performance computing. Along with subject matter experts at DOE, who ultimately approve and fund any proposed R&D, the national lab representatives will engage the wider wind energy community to leverage external resources and execute the research laid out in the A2e multi-year plan.
Research Thrust Areas
For more information about A2e, please contact us.