in News Departments > FYI
print the content item

A team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers is trying to solve airflow mysteries that surround wind turbines. The National Science Foundation recently awarded the team a three-year, $321,000 grant to support the project.

The group is trying to determine whether large wind farms alter local weather conditions and if the arrangement of wind turbines leads to more efficient power production.

"There's been a lot of research done on wind turbine blade aerodynamics, but few people have looked at the way these machines interact with the turbulent wind conditions around them," says Charles Meneveau, a turbulence expert in Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering. "By studying the airflow around small, scale-model windmills in the lab, we can develop computer models that tell us more about what's happening in the atmosphere at full-size wind farms."

To collect data for such models, Meneveau's team is conducting experiments in a campus wind tunnel. The tunnel uses a large fan to generate a stream of air moving at about 40 mph. Before it enters the testing area, the air passes through an "active grid," a curtain of perforated plates that rotate randomly and create turbulence so that air currents in the tunnel more closely resemble real-life wind conditions. The air currents then pass through a series of small model airplane propellers mounted atop posts, mimicking an array of full-size wind turbines.

"What happens when you put these wind turbines too close together or too far apart? What if you align them staggered or in parallel?" asks Raul B. Cal, a Johns Hopkins postdoctoral fellow working on the project. "All of these are different effects that we want to be able to comprehend and quantify, rather than just go out there and build these massive structures, implementing them and not knowing what's going to happen."

IowaDeptEconDevel_id1863

Helukabel_id1908
Latest Top Stories

Report Disputes U.S. Agency's Renewable Energy Projections

A new analysis from the Sun Day Campaign says renewables are slated to provide 16% of U.S. generating capacity by 2018 - over 20 years earlier than forecast by the Energy Information Administration.


Kansas Renewables Mandate Survives Yet Another Attack, But Is It Too Early To Celebrate?

Over the past three years, some legislators have tried to either weaken or repeal the state's renewable portfolio standard, which requires Kansas utilities to reach 20% renewables by 2020.


AWEA Highlights U.S. Wind Success Stories Of 2013

Despite a 92% drop in new capacity last year, the sector still has myriad reasons to celebrate, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association.


Feds List New Bird Species As Threatened - Should Wind Developers Be Worried?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is designating the lesser prairie-chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. An expert explains how this might affect the wind industry.


Senate Committee Passes Bill With Two-Year PTC Extension

The Senate Finance Committee has voted on a tax extenders package, which includes both the production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit, and sent it to the floor.

JLG_id1900
WomenofWind_id
UEA_id1896
Acciona_id1907
AWEA_id1886
bonfiglioli_id1913