The construction of tall towers allows better sensor placement and understanding of wind speed, turbulence, wake interactions and other measurements at hub height.Development of the framework for a GIS web-based wind energy decision support system that aids in both state-level and local-level wind turbine siting has led to greater understanding of land cover’s affect on wind power potential.Research into how to reduce turbine performance losses due to wake effects also resulted in a deeper understanding of turbine noise.
A novel dual rotor wind turbine model was designed to decrease wake losses.
Recirculating wind tunnel built and tested for scale and wake interaction accuracy.
Mapping soil moisture increased understanding of how turbine wakes affect surrounding crop performance.
A new model of turbine blade damage from lightning that shows the interaction between a lightning channel and a composite structure was applied to a damaged blade.Reliability analysis of turbine blade fatigue and drivetrain dynamics, and gearbox failure resulted in better understanding of design optimization variables and cost constraints.Novel manufacturing and repair processes involving laser cutting, fusion, and peening were developed to reduce the cost of repairing turbine components.
Developed novel control techniques and models to better integrate wind into the electric grid.
Continued collaborations with wind industry partners, wind farm land owners, and multi-national wind energy research teams.
The dual rotor wind turbine model continues to be tested.More mapping is planned to further characterize the relationship between turbines and surrounding crops.Models of wind turbine damage will continue to be developed, including how damage propagates due to combined mechanical, electromagnetic, and thermal loads.
Recirculating wind tunnel will continue to be used for investigating wind flow.
The UI Laser Materials Processing Laboratory will continue research into machining, hardening, and peening critical wind turbine components.
Planned expansion of research into risk-averse energy network design, reliability modeling, failure diagnosis and prognosis for complex energy systems.
Click on a person to read about the role these researchers played in Iowa NSF EPSCoR and how the program helped develop their careers and further their research.
- P. Barry ButlerProvost and Professor, Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of IowaP. Barry ButlerProvost and Professor, Mechanical Engineering
As wind energy platform leader, Butler supported all EPSCoR wind energy research in Iowa. He also interacted with community colleges and wind energy companies to grow Iowa universities’ network of partnerships in wind energy.
Butler was appointed provost of the University of Iowa May 2011. He is active in a number of aerospace-related instructional and research activities at the UI and is a strong supporter of Iowa’s STEM initiative.
- Soura DasguptaProfessor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Applied Mathematical and Computational SciencesUniversity of IowaSoura DasguptaProfessor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences
Dasgupta led the green energy grids research plank of the wind energy platform. His research investigated how to modernize energy networks to handle sometimes variable wind energy input.
- K. K. ChoiCarver Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematical and Computational SciencesUniversity of IowaK. K. ChoiCarver Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences
Choi’s Iowa NSF EPSCoR research modeled wind turbines for better reliability. Specifically, Choi was plank leader for drivetrain design and optimization.
- Ganesh RajagopalanProfessor, Aerospace EngineeringIowa State UniversityGanesh RajagopalanProfessor, Aerospace Engineering
Rajagopalan’s research investigates the aerodynamics of wind turbines and wind energy conversion systems. He served as plank leader for blade performance and reliability.
- Gene TakleProfessor, Atmospheric Science, Agricultural MeteorologyIowa State UniversityGene TakleProfessor, Atmospheric Science, Agricultural Meteorology
Gene Takle is director of the Iowa State Climate Science Program. His research involves climate modeling and high performance computing.
For Iowa NSF EPSCoR, Takle served as leader for the resource characterization plank. His inquiries considered micro-climate effects on, from, and within wind farms.
- James BuchholzAssociate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of IowaJames BuchholzAssociate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
For Iowa NSF EPSCoR Buchholz explored the unsteady aerodynamics of wind turbine airflows. His broader IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering program includes unsteady flows in a variety of air and fluid contexts.
- Pablo CarricaProfessor, Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of IowaPablo CarricaProfessor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
For Iowa NSF EPSCoR Carrica modeled the airflow around wind turbines. His broader research agenda includes characterization of bubbly flow dynamics in a variety of fluid contexts.
- Yong ChenProfessor, Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of IowaYong ChenProfessor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Chen helped lead a team in investigating smart grids for centralized wind energy production for Iowa NSF EPSCoR. His research interests include the reliability of sensing systems for a variety of contexts as well as creating robust quality monitoring and fault diagnosis algorithms.
- Hongtao DingAssistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of IowaHongtao DingAssistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Ding performs research about laser-manufacturing techniques to repair composite wind turbine blades.
Iowa NSF EPSCoR helped Ding develop a laser research lab. He later received an additional $300,000 grant from NSF to continue his research and examine other applications.
- Baskar GanapathysubramanianAssociate Professor, Mechanical EngineeringIowa State UniversityBaskar GanapathysubramanianAssociate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Ganapathysubramanian leads a curiosity-driven research group that specializes in computational science and engineering. This research group has two parts – developing novel techniques and applying those methods to solve energy-related problems.
Ganapathysubramanian worked with both the wind energy and energy utilization platforms. His research helped translate and compress wind and flux measurements from wind turbines to create models that provide location, season, and diurnal variations.
- Raghuraman MudumbaiAssociate Professor, Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of IowaRaghuraman MudumbaiAssociate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Mudumbai’s research covers energy demand response techniques and green energy grids. He leads the Wireless Research Laboratory with Soura Dasgupta.
- Andrey PetrovAssistant Professor, Geography and Geospatial TechnologyUniversity of Northern IowaAndrey PetrovAssistant Professor, Geography and Geospatial Technology
Petrov used GIS and remote sensing technology to create unique data sets that model existing Iowa wind farms. His research is geared towards creating site-specific decision-making tools for locating turbines on the landscape.
- Anupam SharmaAssistant Professor, Aerospace EngineeringIowa State UniversityAnupam SharmaAssistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering
Sharma’s research for Iowa NSF EPSCoR looked into the interplay between aerodynamics and machinery noise. He is a Walter W. Wilson Faculty Fellow of Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Iowa State Computational Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Lab (ISU CAAL).
- Hiroyuki SugiyamaAssociate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of IowaHiroyuki SugiyamaAssociate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Sugiyama’s research interests for Iowa NSF EPSCoR include wind energy drivetrain modeling and simulation. His broader area of research covers vehicle dynamics for a variety of contexts.
- Andy VanLoockeAssistant Professor, AgronomyIowa State UniversityAndy VanLoockeAssistant Professor, Agronomy
The primary goal of VanLoocke’s research program is to develop and refine estimates of how ongoing and future changes in land use will affect agro-ecosystems.
The Iowa NSF EPSCoR program made substantial investments in infrastructure, both in the laboratory and in the field. This equipment, instruments, computers, etc., help Iowa researchers to conduct new types of research, to achieve results faster and more accurately, ultimately allowing them to continue their research and better compete for future grants. Here are just a few examples.
Click on an image to learn more about the equipment and how it improves research.
- CNC Laser CutterCNC Laser Cutter
A laser cutter slices materials such as steel, aluminum, plastics, and wood into precise shapes. CNC stands for computer numerical control, which allows the machine to be run automatically from computer models.
Models of turbines need a CNC machine to construct their blades. This is because the laser cutter leaves a high-quality edge on even heavy materials, allowing better modeling of airflow around those blades.
- Computer ServersComputer Servers
High-end computers store, manage, process, and share large amounts of data.
Used for research into software scheduling techniques, known as demand response, which may help reduce a mismatch between power generation and consumption.
- Equipped Classroom in the UI Communications CenterEquipped Classroom in the UI Communications Center
Classroom was equipped with engineering materials to demonstrate hands-on learning.
Dedicated teacher training classroom hosts teachers for professional development to learn how to incorporate cutting edge STEM concepts and practices into their pedagogy.
- Laser Peening MachineLaser Peening Machine
Laser peening uses a high energy, pulsing laser beam to send shock waves through materials. These shockwaves strengthen materials by affecting their micro crystal structures.
Laser peening was experimentally used to manipulate turbine components in order to make them more resistant to wear and tear.
- Meteorological SensorsMeteorological Sensors
Sensors were installed near wind turbines that provide live meteorological data.
The data stream that sensors provide is used to investigate micro-climates that are formed from or impact turbines and wind farms.
- Miniature Wind TurbineMiniature Wind Turbine
Miniature version of a modern wind turbine that can be run indoors or outdoors.
The miniature turbine is used to show students the internal parts of a turbine as well as for measuring performance parameters.
- Mobile MuseumMobile Museum
RV equipped with wind energy materials.
The Mobile Museum RV travels to local Iowa events to provide outreach, STEM education, and attract interest in UI research. Inclusion of wind energy materials broadened the impact of and increased interest in EPSCoR’s wind energy research.
- Raw Materials and Small Engines for Model TurbinesRaw Materials and Small Engines for Model Turbines
Model wind turbines were built using various materials at a small scale.
Researchers experimented with different materials to better optimize the results of a wind tunnel
- Tall TowersTall Towers
Two, 394 feet tall towers were installed, supported by Iowa NSF EPSCoR. One tower was built within a wind farm and one away from the wind farm to act as a "control."
The tall towers allow researchers to place sensors from ground to wind turbine nacelle and blade tip height in order to better understand how wind farms might create micro-climates, or unique temperature, wind speed, or humidity patterns.
- Wind TunnelWind Tunnel
Wind tunnels use fans to precisely control airflow for research purposes.
The new UI wind tunnel has a transparent portion to allow for lasers and cameras to capture how air flows around model wind turbines. The relatively large scale of this tunnel allows more accuracy in modeling.
K-12 Teacher Workshops through the Center for Energy and Environmental Education, UNI. 2012-2016.
Faculty development through the American Society for Engineering Education, Virtual Community of Practice Program. Fall 2013 and Spring 2014.
Relationship with ISU NSF IGERT in Wind Energy Science, Engineering, and Policy. Through 2015. After funding loss, students reinvented group as a wind energy student organization.
Conference Speakers at Iowa Wind Energy Association’s Iowa Wind Power Conference/Regional Job & Education Fair. 2012-2016.
Symposium for Wind Energy Industry, Ames, IA, September 29, 2015.
Symposium for the North American Wind Energy Academy, August 2013, June 2015, Iowa State University will host September 2017.