The Defense and Disaster Deployable Turbine Project (D3T), a project that tests transportable, quickly deployable wind turbines that can be used in a variety of applications, including for disaster relief and military use, is a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The toughness of the portable wind turbines has already been put to the test by the U.S. military, which drove a turbine over ledges of rock and along harsh terrain to see how it fared.
According to a remark made by Jake Gentle, a senior power systems engineer at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), we really wanted to demonstrate its toughness. You cannot arrive at the scene of a natural disaster carrying a cardboard box. It needs to be tough.
Electricity is essential in a disaster. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and Idaho National Laboratory have spent four years researching wind energy as an alternative to diesel generators because it can be expensive and difficult to obtain in an emergency.
According to Brent Summerville, a distributed wind energy systems engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, it must be portable, assemble rapidly, and start producing power. That is a whole new problem for the wind energy sector.
Although solar has been considered, modular panels require consistent sunlight to provide enough power because they are quick and simple to ship and install. Wind energy has the potential to supply additional renewable energy that could help save lives in times of war or after natural disasters thanks to portable, easily deployable wind turbines.
It has been difficult to design a wind turbine that works in these conditions. Poured concrete and cranes are needed to install conventional wind turbines. Sending a turbine that required the assembly of several small parts would take more time. Additionally, the towers must be strong and long-lasting.
The research team decided on a 20-kilowatt wind turbine design that could fit into the 20-foot shipping containers that both the American Red Cross and the U.S. military utilize for disaster aid, together with solar panels and batteries. The crew has also thought about constructing the wind turbines on top of cargo containers.
According to Summerville, disaster relief and military groups want solutions that will actually work. Airborne wind may eventually work well if it is demonstrated to be dependable.
The D3T team organized a virtual workshop in June to bring together wind turbine manufacturers and suppliers with the U.S. military and disaster relief organizations. Additional tests are already scheduled for climate monitoring stations and some isolated Alaskan settlements.