University of Minnesota harnesses wind power
Dolan Media Newswires
Minneapolis — The University of Minnesota will use up to $8 million in stimulus money to install a wind turbine at its Rosemount research park and create graduate and undergraduate programs on wind power.
The university is one of three slated to receive a combined $24 million to study wind energy technology as well as research, development and educational opportunities, according to press release comments attributed to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The other universities selected to receive stimulus money are the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and the University of Maine. IIT was picked to conduct advanced rotor and drive-train mechanical control testing, and the University of Maine will test offshore wind turbine prototypes.
The announced projects support the focus of President Obama’s administration to boost generation of clean energy and support creation of long-term jobs in a variety of renewable energy fields.
In the next two years, the trio of universities will acquire utility-scale or prototype wind turbines to provide researchers and students with hands-on research, development and educational opportunities in the rapidly growing wind industry.
The universities also will use the stimulus money, provided through the Department of Energy, to enhance their wind technology class offerings and provide student loans for research fellowships and internships with the wind energy industry.
Pending successful negotiation with the DOE, the University of Minnesota plans to use the stimulus money to pay for the installation of a Siemens 2.3-megawatt wind turbine at the university’s Outreach Research and Education Park in Rosemount.
There, university officials could study mechanical power transmission and electric generator systems.
Researchers also would study and develop active and passive flow-control strategies to increase energy capture from wind, broaden the operational envelope of the turbine, and reduce structural loads and fatigue.
The Siemens turbine would be close to a wind farm, providing an opportunity to reinforce existing research of turbine wake interaction, interaction between wind farms and overall efficiency of wind energy operations.
The Web-based graduate and undergraduate courses would focus on the integration of wind power technologies with other forms of renewable energy. The courses would complement an associate degree program announced earlier this year to be offered at nine colleges in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.