September 08, 2010

Wind Turbine Scheduled to Power Up This Fall

Case Western Reserve is a leader in wind power.

Case Western Reserve University continues to make progress toward a multimillion-dollar wind energy research center.

The first wind turbine, scheduled to be operational sometime during fall semester, will be near Veale Athletic Center and 121 Fitness Center.

“Once it’s up and running, the university is going to provide energy directly into Veale Center,” said Nick Christie, project manager. The wind turbine will provide about 18.5 percent of the electricity on an annual basis.

Last year, the Ohio Third Frontier Commission Wright Projects Program awarded a $3 million grant to the Case School of Engineering and the university’s Great Lakes Energy Institute. The funds, combined with contributions from Case Western Reserve and its industry partners, will comprise support for an overall $6 million Ohio Wind Energy Research and Commercialization Center (WERC) dedicated to wind turbine innovation and education.

Case Western Reserve plans to install three wind turbines, possibly the largest university facility of its kind in the country dedicated to innovation and commercialization. In addition to research, the turbines will offer opportunities for local companies to create, test and commercialize wind energy-related technologies.

The university recently received approval from city officials and planning commissions to erect the wind turbines. According to Christie, the smallest wind turbine—the one near Veale Center--will be a100-kilowatt unit that is 156 feet tall at the top of its upright blade.

The medium and large turbines are expected to be in Euclid on one of the WERC Center’s industrial partners’ sites. All of the wind turbines will serve as a resource for faculty and student research.

David Matthiesen, associate professor of materials science and engineering, is the project leader. He said students are already conducting research.

“I have three undergraduates working with me this summer. They are making a scaled model of all the buildings in and around the Veale Convocation Center, and will study the unsteady wind flow” through wind tunnel testing, Matthiesen said. He added that wind velocity and wind direction sensors have been installed near Veale Center. Students will analyze the data to develop an understanding of how the wind tunnel tests compare to “real life.”

Northern Power Systems, a U.S.-based manufacturer, will be used for the campus turbine. In addition, the university will work with several local companies to advance the design and manufacture of critical components in a wind turbine. Corporate collaborators include Cleveland Electric Laboratories, Lubrizol Corporation, Parker Hannifin, Azure Energy LLC, Rockwell Automation, Wm. Sopko & Sons Co. and Swiger Coil Systems. 

Posted by: David Wilson, September 8, 2010 12:30 PM | News Topics:

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