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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office has announced the selection of General Electric (GE) Research to receive $20.3 million in follow-on funding from DOE to build and test a prototype of their high-efficiency ultra-light low temperature superconducting generator (SCG) on a wind turbine.

GE’s innovative SCG design leverages investments from the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) industry, eliminates the need for foreign-sourced rare earth materials, and reduces generator mass as compared to current technologies. Lightweight generators are important for tall wind and offshore wind applications because the size and weight of the generator impact the weight and cost of the wind turbine tower and foundation, as well as the specialized equipment needed to transport and install the large components. These innovations are expected to contribute to significant cost-reductions in the pursuit of larger and more powerful wind turbines and economies of scale.

In the next phase of the project, GE will de-risk and finalize their SCG design as well as develop a manufacturing and assembly plan for the prototype. Following an engineering review of the detailed design, GE will test the SCG in a special-purpose dynamometer facility, install the prototype SCG in a wind turbine nacelle, and perform up-tower testing of the SCG.

This is follow-on funding for a project that was originally announced in May 2019.