Pflugerville Firm Awarded by U.S. Department of Energy for ‘Revolutionary’ Wind Turbine Design

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (June 11, 2014)—The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation (PCDC) today announced Pflugerville-based Wetzel Engineering, Inc. was recently awarded for the revolutionary design of a new type of wind-turbine blade by the U.S. Department of Energy at the 27th Annual National Renewable Energy Laboratory Industry Growth Forum.

Wetzel received the award for the company’s pre-fabricated, field-assembled wind-turbine blade, which is easier to transport and assemble than other blades, boosts production capacity and can outlast current designs. Currently, most fully assembled blades can reach 58-meters in length and require entire convoys of trucks and personnel to transport safely. The new Wetzel Blade could simplify the transportation process.

“To have this kind of engineering expertise being generated out of a Pflugerville business is spectacular,” PCDC Executive Director Floyd Akers said. “Innovative, successful businesses attract other innovative, successful businesses. We are working to create and support a culture of collaboration and execution in Pflugerville, and Wetzel is paving the way.”

Wetzel CTO Kyle Wetzel says the design concept evolved from a project the company was involved with in China.

“We were engineering a 100-meter blade for a 10 megawatt turbine and wanted to eliminate shell panel buckling as a design driver,” Wetzel said. “The balsa requirements presented another challenge—almost 10,000 kilograms of this expensive core material was absorbing approximately 6,000 kilograms of epoxy.”

Wetzel said the new blade design could fill many market needs.

“Because of our involvement with the entire turbine lifecycle, we understand that to make a real shift in the economics, a blade design must generate more electricity, cost less to build and maintain, and be more efficient to transport and install,” he said. “The industry is hungry for a solution that delivers on all those points.”

The blade is still undergoing testing and a sub-scale model will reportedly be demonstrated next year. The project is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.


 

About the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation

The Pflugerville Community Development Corporation promotes Pflugerville as a desirable place for new businesses to operate. The organization also supports existing businesses by helping to address their needs. PCDC can provide funding for use as an incentive to businesses to begin doing business in Pflugerville. PCDC funds, which are 4B money generated from a half- cent of the city’s sales tax revenue, can also be used to construct needed infrastructure such as roads, utilities and drainage projects. Located 16 miles northeast of Austin and just south of Round Rock, Pflugerville is well-situated in Central Texas. New state highways 45 and 130 and Interstate Highway 35 all offer direct access to other nearby cities and the region’s main airport. For more information, visit www.pfdevelopment.com.

About Wetzel Engineering, Inc.

Wetzel Engineering provides state-of-the-art engineering services for wind energy, aviation and a variety of industrial applications. As one of the leading engineering consultancies in the world for the wind energy industry, Wetzel Engineering maintains a network of associated consultants with internationally recognized expertise in aerospace materials and manufacturing, gas turbine engines, advanced controls systems, aircraft design, mechanical systems engineering, and electrical systems engineering. For more information, please visit www.wetzelengineering.com.

View full PDF press release here.