Developing a National Agenda for Research on Offshore Wind Resiliency

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) recently awarded funding to Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Professor and Chair Jerome Hajjar and CEE Associate Professor Andrew Myers to develop a national research agenda for offshore wind energy infrastructure. A draft agenda will be presented at a workshop hosted by Northeastern in December 2017.

As part of MassCEC’s Massachusetts Research Partnership in offshore wind, six institutions—Northeastern, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Lowell and Dartmouth, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution—are working collaboratively with government and industry to develop a framework for offshore wind research. “We’re looking at creating research to scale up industry and at workforce development to create opportunities,” says Hajjar. “This includes everything from wind turbine towers to supply chain, public policy and regulatory policy.”

Each of the participating universities is hosting a workshop focusing on various aspects of the research agenda, with the final culminating workshop to be hosted by Northeastern in December. The Northeastern team’s primary focus is on the structural engineering part of the research agenda, specifically large-scale testing of wind turbine towers.

“We’re looking at manufacturing imperfections and how that affects performance of wind turbine towers,” explains Myers, who is leading testing at Northeastern’s structural testing lab in Burlington, Mass.  “We’re baselining new methods [of manufacturing], identifying what parts of the manufacturing process could be improved to lead to a better, stronger tower.”

Ultimately, according to Myers, Northeastern’s work underscores the benefits of large-scale testing to advance research in developing this new energy industry. “This is an example of what large-scale testing can do,” says Myers. “It demonstrates there is a need for testing—for investment in testing facilities—and how it can support the research agenda.”

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Related Faculty: Andrew T. Myers, Jerome F. Hajjar

Related Departments:Civil & Environmental Engineering