A sample section of the 3-D printed mold and a piece of the wind blade made from the mold are on display at the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference.

The Department of Energy’s Wind Program is hosting a booth this week at the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Among the exciting research projects exhibited at the booth is a transformative research collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO). The partnership involves applying 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, processes to create molds for wind turbine blades. The processes currently used to manufacture utility-scale wind turbine blades – which can average over 150 feet in length – are complex, energy-intensive, and time-consuming. Trends toward larger blades, coupled with the drive for global competitiveness, inspired the Wind Program and AMO to explore new clean energy manufacturing technologies. This researched engages Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) system which provides the necessary scale and foundation for this ground-breaking advancement in blade research and manufacturing.

A sample mold and blade section are both on display at AWEA, giving attendees the opportunity to see the tangible results of this innovative research. AMO Director Mark Johnson will join Wind Program Director Jose Zayas on Wednesday, May 25 and Thursday, May 26 to discuss the project and the importance of investing in the research, development, and deployment of cross-cutting platform technologies which have the ability to revolutionize the delivery of clean energy.

For more information about this collaboration, check out a blog written by the directors. An informational brochure with more details is also available here.