Dr. Dagher is the founding Director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and leads the Department of Energy’s (DOE) New England Aqua Ventus I Offshore Wind Advanced Technology Demonstration Project.
The Composites Center, a world leader in bringing advanced materials into construction, was established by the National Science Foundation in 1996. It has grown under Dr. Dagher’s leadership from four to 180 employees, and is now housed in a 100,000-ft2 laboratory, and has won over 40 national and international innovation and excellence awards.
And if that is not enough, to drive innovation in offshore wind energy, he spearheaded the development of the Alfond W2 (Wind-Wave) Ocean Engineering Laboratory, a unique facility with a rotatable high-accuracy wind generator over a multi-directional wave basin, as well as the Offshore Wind Laboratory, the second largest wind blade testing facility in the U.S.
To round out his career to date, Dr. Dagher led the design, deployment, and testing of the patented VolturnUS1:8, the world’s first floating wind turbine foundation, a hull made of concrete, carrying a working, grid-connected turbine on a composite tower. This 1:8 scale testing program, funded through the DOE, included more than 30 partnering organizations.
This successful deployment resulted in a new private company that is developing a 12 MW floating wind demonstration project called New England Aqua Ventus I, off the coast of Maine. Project participants include Emera Inc., Cianbro Corporation, DCNS Energies, and the University of Maine. This demonstration project will deploy two, 6-MW turbines using the VolturnUS floating concrete semi-submersible hull. In May 2016, the project was selected by the U.S. DOE to receive $39.9 million to fund the construction planned for 2018. This will likely be the first utility-scale floating wind project in the Americas.
The patented VolturnUS floating concrete hull technology supports wind turbines in water depths of 45 meters and more, it allows for local manufacturing, has a 100-year life, and independent cost estimates have shown it to significantly reduce the cost of offshore wind.
Dr. Dagher earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and joined UMaine in 1985. He was honored as White House Transportation Champion of Change in 2016 and was selected as Engineering New Record’s Top 25 Newsmakers for 2016. Dagher holds 26 patents with six pending. He has testified before the U.S. Senate on offshore wind energy as a pathway to national energy independence.