When Dr. Todd Griffith
sees palm trees swaying in the wind, he doesn’t think it’s time to kick back with a piña colada. The associate professor of mechanical engineering
at The University of Texas at Dallas instead thinks about efficiency.
“I’m thinking how efficient it is when powerful winds blow. The fronds are flexible; they fold up in hurricane-force winds for protection. When they unfold, they’re fine. I wonder if I can use that in a wind turbine,” he said.
The wind over deep-sea waters offers the potential to become one of the country’s largest renewable energy sources.
University of Texas at Dallas researcher Dr. Todd Griffith
has spent years working on an offshore turbine design that can convert those deep-ocean winds into electricity. Recently, Griffith received a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to take his technology to the next level. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) award provides support for his team to design and build a prototype for a floating offshore wind turbine.
The new grant was part of $26 million in funding from ARPA-E for 13 projects to accelerate floating offshore wind turbine technologies through the Aerodynamic Turbines, Lighter and Afloat, with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-Control (ATLANTIS) program.