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Case Western Reserve Builds Utility Scale Wind Turbine

Wind power turbine (Case Western Reserve University)

(Case Western Reserve University)

Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and its industrial partners have built their largest research wind turbine, with two other turbines already erected and one in operation providing power. The new turbine resides on property owned by industrial grinder manufacturer William Sopko & Sons in nearby Euclid, the site of another university turbine.

The 1-megawatt turbine, when fully installed, will rise 230 feet over the William Sopko & Sons site. The university says the process of connecting the turbine to the grid has begun. A mid-sized research turbine is erected on the same parcel and the smallest, on the Case Western Reserve campus, is already providing power.

After initial studies of their operation, Case Western Reserve plans to make all three turbines available to researchers at non-profit organizations and for-profit companies as working laboratories, eliminating the expense of having to buy or build their own turbines. Researchers can gain access to the turbines through the Wind Energy Research and Commercialization Center, part of the university’s Great Lakes Energy Institute.

Power generated by the new 1-megawatt turbine will flow to the adjacent Stamco Industries plant that stamps truck wheel rings and other products out of heavy-gauge steel. Unused power will flow into the grid. The intermediate (225 kilowatt) turbine is already providing power to William Sopko & Sons’ manufacturing plant making adapters, parts, and accessories for precision grinders.

The smallest (100 kilowatt) turbine, a community-rated power generator, provides electricity to Case Western Reserve’s Veale Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center. During its first full year of operation, the university says the turbine generated 58,500 KWH or about 5 percent of the total used by the center.

David Matthiesen, professor of materials science and engineering at Case Western Reserve and faculty director of the wind energy commercialization center, says all three turbines have experimental or innovative features. The smallest turbine has direct drive system, with no gear box, in its drive train. On the intermediate turbine, the pitch of the blades can be changed to control the angle to the wind. And the new 1-megawatt turbine has extra monitoring features to allow researchers to study how electricity generated by the turbine is integrated into the power grid.

Read more: Wind Turbine Blade Edge Helps Reduce Power Costs

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