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Low Profile Aerodynamic Sensor Tape (LPAST) for Offshore Windmill Monitoring

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0022619
Agency Tracking Number: 0000265497
Amount: $199,716.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C54-17a
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-06-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-03-26
Small Business Information
850 River Street
Troy, NY 12180
United States
DUNS: 188282131
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 David Metacarpa
 (518) 268-1636
Business Contact
 David Metacarpa
Phone: (518) 268-1636
Research Institution

Measuring air pressure profiles on wind turbine blades can provide numerous performance and condition-based maintenance benefits; however, the traditional methods of acquiring such pressure profiles are extremely expensive, time-consuming, and involve physical modification of the blade at each point that is to be monitored. A method to acquire such profiles, and other sensor data such as vibration/impact, would therefore be of considerable interest and use.
Problem Solution Proposed
International Electronic Machines proposes to develop and demonstrate low-profile (<1mm) self-powered pressure and vibration sensing, conformal sensor nodes which will be able to be applied to any airfoil surface in minutes and produce pressure profile data equal in quality and reliability to that available from modern pressure scanner/pressure tap approaches; in later incarnations this is envisioned as a literal “sensor tape” that may be applied to airfoils of any size and cut to length. This allows reliable instrumentation and acquisition of maintenance data for offshore wind turbines, as well as those on land, which is difficult to acquire reliably. This encourages the use of wind energy and reduces the overall cost of use, as well as effectively increases efficiency and reliability of operation.
Phase I Overall Goals
In Phase I, the specifications for the proposed Low-Profile Aerodynamic Sensor Tape will be finalized, with input from both DoE sources and our consultant Dr. Michael Amitay of the Center for Flow Physics and Control. Following this, the key subsystems will be specified, designed, and constructed. A Phase I prototype of the sensor tape will then be assembled and tested, and finally demonstrated in a wind tunnel at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Flow Physics and Control; this division of the university also includes a small wind turbine that would be used in Phase II work.
Commercial Applications
There are more than 70,000 wind turbines in the United States alone, and that number is increasing rapidly. All of these would benefit from having increased performance and condition data which could be used to increase operating efficiency as well as to perform predictive/condition-based health maintenance. This is a market worth many millions of dollars annually.
Commercial and military aircraft developers and manufacturers represent a large additional market, and one that stands to save a huge amount of time and money from such a system. Use of this technology in wind-tunnel testing alone could save many millions of dollars. This technology offers a method to instrument quickly, essentially “on the fly”, for very low cost relative to many instrumentation approaches. In addition, such low-profile, low-cost, easily-integrated pressure and vibration sensors would be the key to effective active wing controls or virtual aerosurfaces which could provide large increases in energy efficiency, control, and lift.
Overall, this means that LPAST’s best public benefits would be to improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of wind turbines and, in addition, aircraft, with others to be seen in scientific and engineering fields.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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