U of M 'flips switch' on giant wind tubine

2:13 PM, Oct 25, 2011   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - A giant 2.5 megawatt wind turbine is spinning and generating energy after officials "flipped the switch" Tuesday afternoon at the University of Minnesota's new Wind Energy Research Station at UMore Park.

A crowd made up of officials from the United States Department of Energy (DOE), industry partners, wind energy researchers, political leaders, university administrators and hundreds of local school children looked on as the 420-foot-tall wind turbine was fired up. 

The turbine sits on the UMore Park property in Rosemount, Minn., a 5,000-acre University-owned parcel in Dakota County.

Not only will the windmill produce electricity for the grid, it will provide an industrial-scale testing ground for new technologies, according to Fotis Sotiropoulos, who leads researchers and industry partners cooperating on the project.

"This new Wind Energy Research Station is about promoting research collaboration between academia and industry to improve wind energy efficiency and reliability," said Sotiropoulos, director of the St. Anthony Falls Lab and consortium leader. "This is about helping the nation reach the goal of producing 20 percent electricity from wind by 2030 through cutting-edge research and work force training."

The ongoing research projects deal with capturing more energy from the wind, improving wind farm design, minimizing turbine impact on radar, reducing turbine noise, preventing ice build-up on blades, monitoring turbine performance and improving turbine blade structure.

The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments and sensors to simultaneously measure the approach wind fields and the impact wind has on the turbine structural reliability and wind energy capturing ability.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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