The Associated Press reports that the University of Maine’s Advanced Engineering and Wood Composites Center has been awarded a $3 million grant to purchase equipment for its offshore wind testing facility.
The funds will contribute to the project engaged in building windmills to harness the winds off Maine’s coast to produce energy.
The federal grant will be used to build a lab station or cell where prototype blades and towers will be made out of experimental materials to withstand off-shore stresses as per Habib Dagher from the Advanced Structures and Composites Center.
Mr Dagher said that this was a cornerstone function of the lab. He added that a very large robot that would weld, paint, and perform other mechanical work will be used in building the windmill parts. The robot will be shaped like an inverted U and will travel over a 200 foot track to apply composite fabrics to the parts.
The Advanced Structures and Composites Center has been expanded to include the Offshore Wind Laboratory. The center has six components in various stages of completion. They include structural testing, a 12-foot-deep hydrodynamic pool where wind and wave action is replicated, and a section where blades are subjected to the kinds of wear and tear they would have to endure off the coast.