Integrated Solution for Low Cost Distributed Wind Energy Generation
Award last edited on: 1/4/2022

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Erika Boeing

Company Information

Accelerate Wind LLC

911 Washington Avenue Suite 501
St Louis, MO 63101
   (314) 326-8180

Research Institution

Illinois Institute of Technology

Phase I

Contract Number: 1843944
Start Date: 2/1/2019    Completed: 7/31/2019
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to enable broad market adoption of rooftop and other methods for local wind energy generation through reduction in costs. This is achieved through development of technology designed to lower the cost of wind turbine drive trains and associated power electronics, high cost items which are often left without innovation in new wind turbine designs. Prohibitively high costs are currently the biggest barrier to widespread adoption of distributed wind turbines, and power electronics can be as much as 50% of these costs. Significant cost reduction has the potential to increase worldwide distributed wind power adoption. The innovative power train technology developed in this project is specifically designed to couple with a proprietary technology for wind capture at rooftop edges. When combined with this technology, costs estimates are competitive with rooftop solar energy, enabling wind energy to become a common addition to rooftop solar installations. Successful deployment of this technology will contribute to society by decreasing the carbon footprint of energy production, increasing energy resiliency, and creating new jobs associated with manufacturing and deployment. Significant manufacturing efforts are likely to remain in the US, creating local job opportunities and economic growth. This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project proposes to use a novel drive train architecture to reduce small wind turbine power train costs. In this architecture, costs are lowered by temporarily storing the energy coming out of the wind turbine rotor in a flywheel before passing it on to the generator. This allows for the power train to include a generator and inverter that are sized for average rather than peak power outputs, enables removal of diversion load, and allows for the use of a faster spinning, and therefore lower cost generator. The Phase I project seeks to prove the feasibility of developing a low-cost flywheel which meets the needs of the overall drive train (including efficiency and reliability), a powertrain control system which maintains high efficiency, and a powertrain system configuration which maintains the reduced cost projections required for market traction. Research efforts include development of a bench-scale drive train to test the controls of the flywheel, powertrain simulation to test alternative generator and converter topologies, and benchmarking of generator candidates to determine efficiency and power density.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.

Phase II

Contract Number: 2036552
Start Date: 5/15/2021    Completed: 3/31/2024
Phase II year
(last award dollars: 2022)
Phase II Amount

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is in its strong potential to disrupt the small wind market, which to date has lagged behind solar counterparts. Through dual installation with solar on commercial buildings, the proposed roof-edge wind turbines will be able to deliver enhanced energy capture systems to buildings, with a shorter payback period, thus improving cost-efficiency and power potential, and attracting a broader body of adopters. By improving product offerings in the renewable energy sector, this technology has the potential to promote sustainable infrastructure, reducing reliance on and consumption of fossil fuels. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project develops a roof-edge wind capture technology with commercial viability. The proposed distributed wind technology reduces costs by harnessing elevated wind speeds at the roof edge, optimizing powertrain architecture, and mitigating soft costs through sale to solar installers, who have already achieved significant market penetration yet would benefit from a diversified portfolio. The project aims to: 1) Prove the feasibility of integrating a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine into the system 2) Design for additional stakeholders, with respect to aesthetics, structural integration, ease of installation, and code compliance, while maintaining cost targets needed for scaleup 3) Design and test full powertrain architecture using components intended for commercial scaleup and 4) Build and test the full turbine for reliability and certification testing. These efforts will inform critical needs to address prior to large-scale commercial rollout, providing a strong foundation for translation as a reliable and cost-efficient distributed wind solution. 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.