The purpose of the Center will be to carry out research, development, and field testing of novel wind power technologies inspired by engineering solutions found in nature. One area of study will result in the development of wind turbines inspired by the structural dynamics of trees.
Materia will be working in collaboration with Caltech Professor Robert Grubbs in developing processes to rapidly create prototypes of promising wind turbines configurations. Professor Grubbs’ olefin metathesis catalyst technology will allow each component of a wind turbine to be tuned for different levels of compliance, weight, or surface roughness based on the requirements of the design concept. This unique advantage will produce wind turbines that are more efficient resulting in increased wind energy production.
"Materia has been working over the past three years on using the Grubbs catalyst technology to enhance wind blade performance and manufacturing," stated Dr. Michael Giardello, Materia’s Chief Executive Officer. "We are looking forward to making a significant contribution in this development of the next generation of wind energy systems."
Materia was founded in 1998 to commercialize olefin metathesis catalyst technology. This market-enabling, Nobel Prize-winning, green chemical technology enables chemical compounds to be synthesized with greater efficiency, under less stringent reaction conditions, and with reduced byproducts and hazardous waste. Metathesis has been accepted as an emerging "green technology" platform and has been broadly adopted by the pharmaceutical, chemical, and polymer industries. As stated by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences when awarding the 2005 Nobel Prize, "metathesis is an example of how important basic science has been applied for the benefit of man, society, and the environment."