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STTR Phase I:Development of an Innovative Ultra High Performance Concrete Foundation System with Bio-inspired Surfaces to Support Renewable Offshore Wind Turbines

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2222232
Agency Tracking Number: 2222232
Amount: $274,956.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: ET
Solicitation Number: NSF 22-551
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-01-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-12-31
Small Business Information
5320 Chesawadox Dr
Exmore, VA 23350
United States
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 JP Binard
 (757) 999-4022
Business Contact
 JP Binard
Phone: (757) 999-4022
Research Institution
 Lehigh University
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

The broader impact of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project is to develop a marketable and cost-effective U.S. manufactured foundation system to support offshore wind turbines (OWTs). The planned offshore wind energy production in the U.S. has been growing rapidly and the industry is expected to be worth more than $1 trillion within the next two decades. Although only 42 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind energy were installed in the U.S. during the last 10 years, planned projects have been growing rapidly targeting 30 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 and 110 GW by 2050, with strong support from coastal states. Achieving the targets of offshore wind energy requires cost-effective and innovative components of these energy systems. One of the main costs for offshore wind energy systems is their foundations, with costs typically ranging from 14% to 34% of the overall project cost. OWTs are commonly supported on large-diameter foundations, which the U.S. does not have the capability to fabricate and instead relies on foundations fabricated abroad. Therefore, a U.S.-manufactured foundation system to support renewable offshore wind energy infrastructure, enhance domestic supply chains, and reduce dependency on foreign manufactured foundations is proposed. The result of this research is a U.S.-manufactured alternative with savings of over half the cost per meter, enabling wider adoption of alternative energy harnessing technologies._x000D_
The goal of the proposed project is to develop a U.S.-manufactured, bio-inspired, enhanced capacity foundation system to support offshore wind energy infrastructure that provides technical improvements and cost-saving to currently used systems. The proposed project also provides: (1) ease of adoption by providing similar weight and installation approaches to current means and methods; (2) better durability and longer service life than currently used OWT foundations; and (3) improved speed of construction promoting scalability. Furthermore, the proposed system will allow for optimized design, increasing the foundation capacity and improving the installation process.Preliminary tests show that the proposed design could improve the foundation capacity by up to 100% compared to that of the currently used foundation systems when subjected to long-term cyclic loading similar to those experienced by OWTs.The proposed concept could be used as a driven pile, suction caisson, anchors, or gravity base providing several options for the offshore wind energy industry in the U.S. To achieve the project goal, this research will focus on: (1) verification of key material properties for marine environmental conditions, (2) structural design of foundation cross-sections, (3) installation analyses on proposed foundations in marine environments; and (4) investigations of the effects of the bio-inspired design on foundation capacity._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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

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