UMaine Wins $12.5 Million in National Competition to Advance VolturnUS Floating Offshore Wind Technology

The University of Maine (UMaine) has been selected to receive $12.5 million through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to advance the research and development of its VolturnUS + floating offshore wind turbine (FOWT) technology. This funding, which was competed under the ARPA-E ATLANTIS program, will enable UMaine to continue innovating in the field of floating offshore wind turbines with goals of further reducing costs through innovation and accelerating industrialization.

According to the US DOE Website:  “ATLANTIS projects will aim to develop new and potentially disruptive innovations in FOWT technology to enable a greater market share of offshore wind energy, ultimately strengthening and diversifying the array of domestic energy sources available to Americans.”

About two-thirds of the US offshore wind energy is in deep waters, more than 150 ft deep, requiring the use of floating wind turbines. Floating turbines can be fabricated and assembled  onshore or nearshore like vessels and towed out to sea and moored far from shore.  The US government has declared floating wind as a US Energy EarthShot:  “The climate crisis calls for a different kind of moonshot. Energy Earthshots™ will accelerate breakthroughs of more abundant, affordable, and reliable clean energy solutions within the decade.  They will drive the major innovation breakthroughs that we know we must achieve to solve the climate crisis, reach our 2050 net-zero carbon goals, and create the jobs of the new clean energy economy. The Energy Earthshots target the remaining solution points of the most challenging technical problems across our energy economy.”  

The Gulf of Maine has nearly 156 GW of offshore wind capacity within 50 miles, and harnessing 3% of that resource is enough to electrify heating and transportation in Maine. 

The new VolturnUS + technology builds upon UMaine’s proven VolturnUS semi-submersible concrete hull technology and includes new features such as motion mitigation technology that reduces wave and wind-induced motions,  and helps keep the turbine within acceleration and inclination limits in extreme storms.  The patented motion-mitigation technology leads to even smaller, lighter and simpler hulls to build.  These hulls can be built using precast-concrete modules or slip-forming, and can be assembled in a port facility.  These lighter, corrosion-resistant concrete hulls can also be efficiently produced locally, and result in lower operations and maintenance costs.  

Nearly one year ago, Governor Janet Mills signed into law LD 1895, legislation to advance offshore wind in Maine by procuring up to 3,000 MW of offshore wind energy, enough to power 1.3 million homes, allows for critical port development, creates opportunity for all Maine workers and businesses in the emerging offshore wind industry, and protects critical lobstering areas from development. 

The ATLANTIS (Aerodynamic Turbines Lighter and Afloat with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control) program aims to develop innovative FOWTs that are lighter and more efficient, using advanced design tools and real-world data. The program seeks to boost energy security, reduce environmental impact by cutting fossil fuel reliance, and lower the cost of wind energy production, making it more accessible near major U.S. coastal cities.

UMaine’s success in the ATLANTIS program national competition helps keep Maine in a technology leadership role in this key renewable energy space, supports Maine’s offshore wind roadmap, and adds to UMaine’s track record of national and international leadership in floating offshore wind research and development. 

Contact: Taylor Ward,