Ducommun officials said LDS will further develop and commercialize the technology, originally developed at WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), and offer it to targeted wind turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and operators in the U.S. and select international markets who want more robust, cost-efficient lightning strike protection.
Stephen G. Oswald, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ducommun Incorporated, said:
“I am very pleased to announce the exclusive agreement between Lightning Diversion Systems and Wichita State University to license and further develop this advanced lightning protection technology for a segment of the wind turbine market. It offers us an opportunity to partner with a highly respected university and research institute on the latest technologies and advancements, while applying our existing expertise in lightning protection capabilities and solutions for aerospace and defense to support this targeted use in the wind energy sector.”
Jay Golden, president of Wichita State University, said:
“At Wichita State University, we are focused on launching convergence sciences, and this partnership is a great demonstration of that. The type of technology we’re developing with NIAR and Lightning Diversion Systems shows WSU’s dedication to leverage our expertise and research strengths to diversify the economy.”
Dave Wilmot, vice president and general manager of the Engineered Products Group for Ducommun Incorporated, said LDS currently supports approximately 3,000 wind turbine blades worldwide with its segmented diverter strips, which has provided direct insight on the unmet need for more robust protection.
“There are currently more than 341,000 wind turbines operating worldwide, with more than 56,000 of those based in North America. All of them are susceptible to lightning strikes, which can cause significant and costly damage to wind turbine components such as blades, controls and electrical systems. While wind turbine blades have existing lightning protection systems, these systems are unable to effectively transfer lightning current to the ground. By partnering with Wichita State University on this innovative technology, our goal is to develop advanced protection for wind turbines, which means they stay in the field longer, they stay on the turbines longer, and there is less material going into landfills or recycling.”