The PIs plan to hold a Wind Energy Research Workshop to take place mid-August 2011 in Lowell, Massachusetts. This workshop will bring together a diverse audience with a collective wealth of knowledge that will: (1) identify research gaps that currently exist in the wind industry (2) determine future research directions that will provide immediate and long-term benefits to the nations? ability to harness wind energy (3) exchange information via several panel sessions with distinguished and knowledgeable speakers (4) educate the wind-energy community about the relevant issues that need to be addressed to reduce the cost of wind harvested energy
The proposed workshop will focus on topics not covered by other conferences. These topics include: Manufacturing, Structural Health Monitoring, NDI, Computational Modeling, Energy Storage, Workforce Development, and Offshore Wind.
The exchange of knowledge and ideas by speakers and participants will advance the research of the participants and their institutions, agencies, and companies. It will also foster collaborations leading to basic and applied research that increases the intellectual merit of the wind energy community.
The PI will award approximately 40 travel supplements to applicants that meet certain selection criteria. The funding to support participants, especially junior faculty and students, will be leveraged to support as large a number and as diverse a group as possible.
Workshop discussions will not only enhance participants? understanding of the Wind-Energy field, they will also promote the development of research collaborations. A report highlighting the workshop outcomes will be published and participants? presentations will be posted on a website.
A special effort will be made to ensure that the student awardees represent a significant number of underrepresented groups, as well as a diversity of institutions and geographic locations.
In September 2011, a Wind Energy Research Workshop was held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) with approximately 150 participants. The purpose of the Workshop was to bring together a diverse audience (from academia, industry, and government) with a collective wealth of knowledge that: identified research gaps that currently exist in the wind industry determined future research directions that will provide immediate and long-term benefits to the nationsâ€™ ability to harness wind energy exchanged information via several panel sessions with distinguished and knowledgeable speakers educated the wind-energy community about the relevant issues that need to be addressed to reduce the cost of wind harvested energy The specific focus of the workshop and panel sessions included the following topics: 1) Computational Modeling and Simulation, 2) Energy Storage, 3) Structural Health Monitoring and Non-Destructive Inspection, 4) Manufacturing, 5) Offshore Wind, and 6) Workforce and Economic Development. Many of the presentations and videos are available on www.uml.edu/Research/centers/Wind-Energy/Workshop/Schedule.aspx The Computational Modeling and Simulation session identified the need for as near to 100% correct multi-physics simulations as possible, the best solution for the lowest cost, design optimization turn-around in less than a day, verification and validation tied to computations, detailed experimental data at scales appropriate to the problem being investigated, data-driven computation and analysis, and economical computational methods for small businesses. Empirical data and formal verification and validation (V&V) are necessary for increasing user confidence in complex, computational methods. The Energy Storage session identified the need for lower cost battery technologies, battery recycling, the use of non-toxic materials in batteries, further research for technologies such as flywheels, super-capacitors/conductors, and thermal/fluid/chemical potential energy storage systems, and a better understanding of the economics of including energy storage as part of a renewable energy system. A better understanding is needed of how to control intermittent power generation and its dynamic interaction with the electrical grid. The Structural Health Monitoring and Non-Destructive Inspection panel identified the need for tools that can predict and accurately identify wind loads on the blades during operation. There is also a need for sensors that can be used both in-service and during the manufacturing process (cradle to grave), a meaningful certification process that includes better boundary conditions and loads during testing/modeling, and sensing approaches that can predict damage globally from limited sets of sensors or over a large area. Long-term turbine lifespan also requires sensors that are capable of out-living the host structure. The Manufacturing panel identified the need for improved resin systems and processes that increase throughput and reduce cost, while also reducing defects and allowing for large blades/towers/components that can be assembled on-site due to transportation restrictions. With the expected growth of the industry and the number of turbines, end of service life issues such as blade recycling need to be addressed. The Offshore Wind panel identified challenges facing offshore wind resulting from large-scale, strongly coupled multi-physics and the marine environment. Specific needs include research in new materials and blade/tower construction techniques, novel control strategies for mitigating aero-elastic effects such as flutter, understanding wave/turbine/mooring system dynamic interaction, lighter weight towers, improved corrosion resistance, ability to withstand offshore storms, and improved offshore wind assessment/remote monitoring. The Workforce and Economic Development panel identified the difficulty in finding experienced workers, the need for increased certainty for wind energy investors/developers, and raising public awareness to both the economic, environmental and social benefits to society of wind energy that will help drive demand and reduce wind energy costs.