Tethered Aerostat Crane for Wind Turbine Construction and Maintenance

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-10ER85909
Agency Tracking Number: 94435
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: 07 a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000161
Small Business Information
110 Pulpit Hill Road, Amherst, MA, 01002
DUNS: 189950046
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Daniel Nachbar
 (413) 549-1321
Business Contact
 Daniel Nachbar
Title: Dr.
Phone: (413) 549-1321
Email: nachbar@heavyliftsystems.com
Research Institution
The cost effective installation and maintenance of large-scale wind turbines is currently hindered by the difficulties inherent in the use of conventional ground-based cranes. Ground-based cranes are not only very expensive to deploy but also create indirect costs (such as the need to build extra-wide roads), increased environmental damage, permitting challenges, siting difficulties, and logistical burdens. This research will examine the feasibility of a novel buoyancy-based crane system called the Tethered Aerostat Crane (TAC). The TAC uses a purpose-built tethered hot air aerostat (similar to a hot air balloon) to replace the expensive and logistically constrained ground-based cranes in use today. Phase I of this project will investigate the feasibility of two key innovations that will enable effective TAC operation. Phase II will focus on the development of a market-ready field-deployable TAC unit capable of installing mid-sized wind turbines and lifting replacement components for maintenance of large-scale wind turbines. Follow-on versions of this technology will be able to provide sufficient lift capacity to support the installation of large-scale turbines. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The Tethered Aerostat Crane (TAC) will provide faster crane deployment, reduced site preparation, and significantly lower costs for wind turbine assembly and maintenance. The TAC will also have application to other projects that require lifting heavy loads in remote locations such as the construction of electric transmission lines, telecommunication towers, pipelines, and bridges.

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

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