The Sandia-patented rotary electrical contact device and method for providing current to and/or from a rotating member. Twistact is a fundamentally new class of rotary electrical-contact device to replace brush/slip-ring hardware and eliminate the need for rare-earth-element magnets in wind-turbine generators. The Twistact technology provides rolling contact, the electric current spends minimal time on belt, and it is convectively cooled.

The Sandia-patented rotary electrical contact device and method for providing current to and/or from a rotating member. Twistact is a fundamentally new class of rotary electrical-contact device to replace brush/slip-ring hardware and eliminate the need for rare-earth-element magnets in wind-turbine generators. The Twistact technology provides rolling contact, the electric current spends minimal time on belt, and it is convectively cooled.

Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL’s) Twistact and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) Optimization of Building Efficiency projects were selected as the Livermore Valley Site’s participants in the Energy Department’s LabCorps pilot program. The LabCorps goal is to accelerate the transfer of innovative clean-energy technologies from DOE national laboratories into the marketplace. “This program underscores the value of the partnership between Sandia California, Lawrence Livermore, and i-GATE to successfully commercializing laboratory ideas,” said LLNL Director Bill Goldstein. “I look forward to seeing these energy technologies move to the marketplace.”

The winning principal investigators, Sandia’s Jeff Koplow (In Sandia’s Energy Innovation Dept.) and LLNL’s Yining Qin, will each receive $75K to develop commercialization plans for their technologies. The two project teams, which consist of the principal investigator, an entrepreneurial lead, and industry adviser, will attend LabCorps entrepreneur training later this year. The teams also will have access to a suite of commercialization resources, including technology validation and testing, facility access, techno-economic analysis, and other incubation services.

The 2nd-generation Twistact test-bed. Results to date are (1) 2000 amps operating current [200% of original project goal] (2) 0.65 mΩ series resistance [better than original project goal of 1.0 mΩ], and (3) 500 rpm operation demonstrated [50% of extended project goal (electric vehicles)].

The 2nd-generation Twistact test-bed. Results to date are (1) 2000 amps operating current [200% of original project goal] (2) 0.65 mΩ series resistance [better than original project goal of 1.0 mΩ], and (3) 500 rpm operation demonstrated [50% of extended project goal (electric vehicles)].

Sandia’s Twistact technology is a fundamentally new pathway to rapid, much more cost-effective proliferation of wind power on the national electric grid. It enables novel wind-turbine designs that eliminate exotic rare-earth materials and high-maintenance components, such as gearboxes and brush contacts.

The announcement was made in earlier this Spring at an event at the i-GATE Innovation Hub. Joining in the celebration were Representative Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.; Livermore Mayor John Marchand; Sandia Vice President Marianne Walck; Goldstein; i-GATE executive director Brandon Cardwell; and researchers from Sandia California and LLNL.

“Transitioning clean-energy technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace is difficult, but it’s also vitally important that we do so,” said Walck. “This is a great opportunity for our researchers to receive federal support for their entrepreneurial efforts.” The Livermore Valley Site LabCorps program is a collaboration between LLNL, Sandia, the i-GATE Innovation Hub, and the University of California at Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Read the Sandia news release.