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Seeking ice advice: NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, Wind Turbine Challenge

Seeking ice advice: NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, Wind Turbine Challenge

Create a cost-effective wind turbine de-icing solution to help accelerate clean energy.
stage:
Closed
prize:
$100,000
Overview

Challenge Overview

Background

As the world leader in wind power, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, knows a thing or two about renewable, sustainable sources of energy. With more than 117 wind projects in 20 states, four Canadian provinces and many more projects under development, we’ve become a major player in the energy game. But even experts are faced with challenges from time to time. In this case, the challenge stems from wintery weather. 

Because many of our wind turbines are located in extremely cold climates, where Mother Nature can unleash her frozen fury, ice occasionally accumulates on turbine blades. The added weight of the ice can reduce performance, and shorten the lifespan of our equipment. Therefore, our teams work diligently to limit the ice on our turbine blades, which left unattended can impact the performance of the turbine.

 

The Breakthrough

At NextEra Energy Resources, we value diversity and inclusion because we know that different perspectives often uncover innovative solutions. And, this is where you come in. We are very interested in identifying, testing and deploying new solutions to limit icing on turbine blades.

Over the years, numerous ice mitigation and ice prevention technologies have been developed for airplanes and helicopters, however, there are a limited number of commercially available solutions that can be used on existing wind turbine blades.

There are two main approaches to the turbine blade icing challenge anti-icing and de-icing: 

  1. Anti-icing technologies prevent the formation of ice. Common approaches involve the generation of heat by different methods, but the installation of anti-icing technologies tends to be time-consuming and expensive. In addition, the active components are more likely to require maintenance or repair than other approaches. 
  2. De-icing technologies remove ice that has already accumulated. Many de-icing approaches involve the use of icephobic coatings. While these coatings are fairly easy to apply for other applications, applying coatings to every blade at a wind project – where wind turbines are several hundred feet in the air – is a completely different situation that incurs greater cost and effort.  Also, these coatings are not always durable in the elements and may need to be reapplied frequently, making them more expensive.

Our ultimate goal is to prevent ice from forming on the wind turbine blades; therefore, solutions involving both anti-icing and de-icing components are encouraged. De-icing solutions alone are acceptable if they can reliably improve production efficiency while meeting cost constraints. Data supporting anti-icing and/or de-icing claims is a required element of the submission package.

We are very interested in seeking your ice advice!  Finding an innovative solution to limit icing on turbine blades isn’t exclusive to just us at NextEra Energy Resources – the entire wind energy industry would benefit from your creativity.  Thank you for your interest, and good luck!

Guidelines

Challenge Guidelines

Prize

This is a two phase challenge, with a total of US$100,000 in development funding and cash prizes available.  Additionally, winners will have the opportunity to demonstrate their technology for NextEra Energy and to receive guidance and feedback from NextEra Energy experts.

 

Phase 1:

Up to three top-scoring proposed technologies will receive development grants of $20,000. The grant money will be used to develop the proposed technology for a field trial at one of our wind projects. The winning technologies will be selected based on evaluations made by an internal judging panel against the evaluation criteria listed below.

Phase 2:

The winning technologies from phase one will each be applied to an actual wind turbine at one of our wind projects. Field trial performance will be evaluated on turbine operational data gathered during the trial and other criteria that will be provided to the participants. Based on field trial results and NextEra Energy Resources’ determination of feasibility, one grand prize winner, if selected, will receive a $30,000 cash prize and any selected runners-up will each receive $5,000 cash awards. In addition, opportunities for further development and eventual deployment at our wind farms may be available. 

 

Timeline

Pre-registration begins                                               October 17, 2017

Open to submissions                                                  October 24, 2017

Phase 1 Submission deadline                                    February 28, 2018 at 10pm PT

Phase 1 Judging                                                         March 1-12, 2018

Phase 1 Winners Announced                                     March 13, 2018

Phase 2 begins                                                           March 14, 2018

Phase 2 Submission deadline                                    June 14, 2018

Field Application of Phase 2 Submission(s)               July 2018 to September 2018

Testing of Phase 2 Submission(s)                              October 2018 to February 2019

Phase 2 Winner(s) Announced                                  Spring 2019

 

How do I win?

Winners, if any, will be determined by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC in its sole discretion. To be eligible for an award, your proposal must, at minimum:

  • Satisfy the Judging Scorecard requirements
  • Thoughtfully address the Submission Form questions
  • Be scored higher than your competitors
  • Demonstrate real-world feasibility as determined by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC in its sole discretion

Solutions must, at a minimum:

  • Prevent ice from forming on wind turbine blades and/or remove ice that has already formed on wind turbine blades
  • Be demonstrable and accompanied by supporting data

 

Judging Criteria

 

Section

Description

Overall Weight

Cost

  • Cost per wind turbine generator does not exceed $40,000.
  • Technologies costing less than $15,000 per wind turbine generator strongly preferred

30

Performance

  • Actively prevents or reduces ice adhesion
  • Reduces loss of power generation due to icing
  • Active use of technology has no significant impact on efficiency
  • Ideally, technology activates automatically. At a minimum, all units at one location can be controlled simultaneously

30

Durability

  • Regular maintenance minimized (cleaning, reapplication of coatings, etc)
  • Ease of repair and availability of repair parts

15

Ease of Implementation

  • Technology can be installed on existing wind turbines
  • Complexity of installation and time required is low

10

Technical maturity

  • Ideally, technology can be field tested.  At a minimum, technology can be demonstrated in laboratory.

15

 

Total

 

100

 

Rules

Participation Eligibility:

The challenge is open, without geographic limitation, to individuals age 18 or older, who may participate individually or as part of private or public teams, including collegiate teams, as well as partnerships, companies, and corporations.  

No specific credentials, qualifications or expertise in the field of ice mitigation is required. Prize organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions.

No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

 

Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the HeroX.com website, on or before 10 p.m. PST on February 28, 2018. All uploads must be in PDF or Word format. No late submissions will be accepted. All submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English.

 

Intellectual Property Rights:

As detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement – the winning innovator(s) will retain any and all applicable intellectual property ownership rights to their technology.

 

Selection of Winners:

Based on the winning criteria, prizes will be awarded per the How Do I Win? section above. Winning entries, if any, are determined in the sole discretion of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

 

Judging Panel:

The determination of the winners will be made by a panel of judges with appropriate credentials selected by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

 

Additional Information:

  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • By participating in the competition, each competitor agrees to submit their original solution.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be frivolous, misrepresentative, plagiarized, or  reliant upon intellectual property rights of others without authorization may, as determined by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, be deemed ineligible.
  • All ineligible applications may be removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.

Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.The winner is responsible for any applicable federal state or local taxes on any prize received. In order to claim a prize, additional releases and/or waivers of liability may be required by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.

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