OSWEC Support Columns Fabrication Wins DOE Challenge

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced a winner of the Novel Concepts for Large-scale 3D Printing Challenge, one of several crowd-sourcing campaigns in the Manufacturing Innovator Challenge.

The Manufacturing Innovator Challenge consists of six individual challenges across multiple technologies to find innovative solutions to today’s manufacturing challenges and attract broad industry participation in the U.S.

Through the Novel Concepts for Large-scale 3D Printing Challenge, EERE sought to crowd-source new uses for large-scale 3D printing, specifically concepts for unique 3D printed products that could be manufactured onsite, are customizable, or have complex patterns which would offer advantages to traditional manufacturing. Freelancer delivered solutions provided by specific members of their community that were competing on the challenge. The following winner was selected:

The World’s First Additively Manufactured Support Structure for Wave Energy Converters

Submitted by Jason Cotrell, the approach proposed the onsite additive manufacturing of concrete support columns for oscillating surge wave energy converters (OSWECs).

The size of current structures, which are currently produced offsite, is limited by transportation considerations. As energy conversion efficiency generally increases farther from the shore (where greater depth requires larger supports), the conversion efficiency is also limited by the same considerations. Onsite production could therefore provide more efficient, and therefore more economical, OSWEC deployment.

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