Arctura Awarded $1.15 Million Grant from U.S. Dept. of Energy

SBIR Phase IIB Grant Will Enable Arctura to Field Test Its Proprietary ArcGuide™ Wind Turbine Blade Coating to Reduce Lightning Damage

Providence, R.I. – July 26, 2021 – Arctura announced today that it has won a $1.15-million Phase IIB SBIR grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to commercialize a new blade coating designed to reduce the damage to wind turbine blades caused by lightning.

Lightning damage to wind turbines is one of the largest expenses for wind farm operators. The industry is estimated to lose $100M+ annually to damage caused by lightning, and the problem is expected to worsen in the coming years as wind turbines grow in size and lightning activity increases as a result of climate change. Arctura is pioneering a new, inexpensive coating system that will lessen the damage to wind turbine blades caused by lightning by promoting the formation of ionization channels over the surface of the turbine blades, providing a safe external path for lightning energy to reach the ground and preventing damaging blade punctures.  The new technology is applicable to both new and existing turbine designs, for both onshore and offshore sites.

“This blade coating breakthrough addresses one of the most important pain points felt by wind farm operators,” said Arctura CEO Neal Fine. “We are very pleased that DOE is continuing to invest in this technology and helping us to accelerate its commercialization.  The industry is more than ready for this product to be validated and commercialized.” 

Arctura will use the funds to pilot the product in two extended field trials. The trials will verify the expected reduction in damage due to lightning while also demonstrating that the coating can withstand harsh operating conditions over extended periods of time.  One of the two trials will be performed at a wind farm owned and operated by an affiliate of Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC. 

“Leeward is pleased to participate in Arctura’s research efforts,” said Leeward’s Director of Engineering, Ron Grife.  “Lightning damage is a major cause of downtime and repair for wind projects and, if successful, Arctura’s product could be an important retrofit solution for the wind industry.”  

Arctura was founded in 2015 with a mission of reducing the cost of producing wind energy. Originally backed with $550,000 in seed capital from the Slater Technology Fund, and UPC Capital Ventures, LLC, the venture capital division of the UPC Energy Group, Arctura has gone on to raise an additional $7 million from federal and state sources to advance its technologies. 

“The proliferation of wind power has been a huge component of our transition to a low carbon future,” said Thorne Sparkman, managing director of the Slater Technology Fund. “By leveraging Arctura’s innovative coating technology, wind operators can continue to drive costs out of wind power and increase its penetration.”  

About Arctura, Inc. 

Arctura (formerly Aquanis, Inc.) was founded in 2015 by Neal E. Fine, Ph.D. to develop and market technologies and products that improve sustainability and renewable energy. Dr. Fine brings more than 25 years of experience in R&D in fluid dynamics and aeronautical systems in support of the defense, marine, aviation and energy industries.

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For more information, contact:
Laura Nelson
SVM Public Relations