AMO cuts wind energy costs by 3D printing gigantic wind blade molds in 6 feet tall sections | 8/1/2016 | Staff
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As today’s society consumes more energy than ever before in the history of the world, alternative and more efficient energy sources are more needed than ever. Traditional energy sources, such as fossil fuels, are slowly depleting – so the time for wind, water and solar could be just around the corner. But costs are always the deciding factor, and the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) has therefore turned to 3D printing to reduce development costs for wind turbines. And as wind blades can easily be more than 40 feet in length, AMO has started building molds made from six feet tall 3D printed sections that can be used to cast a complete blade. Could we be looking at the future of clean energy?

The Advanced Manufacturing Office is part of the US Department of Energy, and is especially dedicated to bringing new manufacturing solutions to clean energy projects involving industry partners, small businesses, universities, regional entities, and other stakeholders. As a result, 3D printing is often on the table, but we never imagined that they would be applying it on such a gigantic scale.

Wind - Blade - Mold - Collaboration - Wind

Specifically, this gigantic 3D printed wind blade mold was developed in collaboration with the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office (WWPTO), the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory and corporate partner TPI Composites in an attempt to bring new and clean manufacturing methods to the wind turbine industry. Completed just in time for Global Wind Day 2016, which was held on June 15, it underlines the fact that the wind energy sector has only just begun exploring the most cost-effective manufacturing options available.

Of course you might ask: what is a 3D printed wind blade mold good for? As the AMO team explained, 3D printing was brought into this project to reduce the cost and energy that is required...
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