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Argonne National Lab

About Argonne National Laboratory

At Argonne National Laboratory, world-class scientists and engineers work alongside experts from industry and academia to address vital national challenges in clean energy, the environment, health, and national security. Energy efficiency programs include the development of higher-performance batteries, fuel cells, advanced vehicle engines, alternative fuels, smart electrical grids, and more efficient manufacturing and industrial technologies. Argonne has 3,350 total employees, a yearly budget of $722 million, and hosts more than 6,500 researchers every year at its six national User Facilities.

Capabilities

Argonne's wind power technology and analysis program focuses on improving wind resource assessments and wind power forecasting, understanding and mitigating grid integration issues, addressing wildlife-related environmental concerns, and investigating origins and solutions to solving premature wind turbine equipment failures.

  • Argonne's new wind power point and uncertainty forecasting methods show significant improvements in forecast performance compared with existing methods, and have been licensed to industry.
  • As part of Argonne's grid integration research, it is investigating the potential application of stochastic mathematical methods to more efficiently handle the inherent variability and limited predictability of wind and solar resources. Argonne's research points to solutions for electricity markets with high wind power penetrations to provide price incentives for sufficient capacity investments to maintain system reliability in the long run.
  • In order to facilitate smart wind power development that minimizes ecological impact, Argonne's environmental researchers have developed a landscape-based modeling framework that considers the cumulative impacts of prospective wind energy development on populations of critically important wildlife species.
  • Argonne is investigating the root cause of failures to wind turbine drivetrain components, such as bearings and gears. One of the leading causes of drivetrain reliability issues is a complicated mode of bearing failure known as white-etching cracks. In collaboration with industry, Argonne scientists are working to gain a better understanding of this issue, using one of the brightest light sources in the world — Argonne's Advanced Photon Source.

Facilities

Advanced Photon Source:

Wind plant operations and maintenance costs consume up to one-third of total revenue, and are increasing 5 to 10% per year. A major portion of these costs is related to premature failures typically found in wind turbine drivetrains.

Argonne researchers have characterized the leading cause of drivetrain component failures using the Advanced Photon Source (APS), a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility and the brightest synchrotron X-ray source in the Western Hemisphere. Argonne scientists and Wind OEM experts successfully use this $1 billion facility to shine the APS light beam at failed turbine components to look deep inside the material to locate microscopic cracks inside the steel bearings furthering our understanding of these premature failures.

Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) climate research facilities:

Over the last 10 years, Argonne researchers have designed, developed, deployed, and maintained stationary meteorological instrumentations at three Dept. of Energy Office of Science Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) climate research facilities at the Southern Great Plains, North Slope of Alaska, and Tropical Western Pacific locales. In addition, Argonne has designed and developed two ARM Mobile Facilities and supported deployments of those facilities to locations around the world. With funding from the Dept. of Energy's Wind Power Program, over the last several years, Argonne researchers have supported the Dept. of Energy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's wind forecasting improvement project at various sites in the U.S.

Photo of a metal cylinder with a crack down the front and a metal ruler lying in front of the cylinder. There is a picture of the crack magnified to the side of the cylinder.
Photo of an aerial view of Argonne National Laboratory.