Yesterday U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced that six projects have been selected to receive nearly $7.5 million over two years to advance next-generation designs for wind turbine drivetrains.  Drivetrains, which include a turbine’s gearbox and generator, are at the heart of the turbine and are responsible for producing electricity from the rotation of the blades. The selected projects selected will also help promote and accelerate the deployment of offshore wind turbines.

Some of the projects are early stage R&D projects which will focus on reliability or may redesign drivetrains to eliminate certain components altogether. Other projects will focus on  increasing the amount of energy produced by turbines, or designs that minimize the use of rare earth materials.

The awards will be issued through DOE’s Wind and Water Power Program, which funds research, testing, development and deployment of innovative wind energy technologies.

Each project listed in the table below will receive up to $700,000 to conduct technology cost and readiness assessments during the 6-month Phase I. Some of the projects will be selected for Phase II and each Phase II project could receive up to an additional $2 million over 18 months.



Town, State



Advanced Magnet Lab

Palm Bay, Florida

A superconducting direct-drive generator for large wind turbines


Boulder Wind Power

Boulder, Colorado

Magnet-based direct-drive generator to validate performance and reliability of large utility-scale turbine. Has offshore applications


Clipper Windpower

Carpinteria, California

Drivetrain design that enables increased serviceability over conventional gearboxes


Dehlsen Associates

Santa Barbara, California

Drivetrain configuration that eliminates gearboxes, power electronics, transformers, and rare earth materials


GE Global Research

Niskayuna, New York

10 MW direct-drive generator using low-temperature superconductivity technology that reduces the risk of fluid leakage.



Golden, Colorado

Hybrid design that uses a single-stage gearbox and non-permanent magnet generator that reduces the need for rare earth materials