The objective of this project is to establish a multi-university, Phase II I-UCRC (Industry-University Collaborative Research Center) for wind energy research, education, and outreach. The effort is based on successful operation during Phase I that was led by two university sites (UMass Lowell and the University of Texas at Dallas). Together these two universities have conducted wind energy research, established long-term partnerships within the wind industry, trained undergraduate and graduate students to perform state-of-the-art industry relevant research, and engaged in outreach to K-12 students. The Center will contribute to the nation’s research infrastructure and enhance the intellectual capacity of the renewable energy workforce. A diverse group of scientists, engineers, and practitioners will execute a program of research and education focused on the design, operation, and maintenance of land-based and offshore wind energy systems for electricity production. The Center will be aimed at: (a) enhancing national excellence in wind energy research and development that has direct relevance to industry, and (b) developing a cadre of diverse undergraduate and graduate students with world-class training who will support and eventually lead in the analysis, design, manufacture, and successful operation of wind energy systems.

The proposed Phase II I-UCRC will integrate engineering with fundamental research to support the development of low-cost and high availability wind energy systems. The partners will engage in cooperative research and education in the following key thrust areas: (a) Composites, Blade and Rotor Design & Manufacturing, (b) Structural Health Monitoring and Non-Destructive Inspection, (c) Wind Plant Modeling and Measurements, (d) Control Systems for Wind Turbines and Wind Plants, (e) Energy Storage and Grid Integration, (f) Foundation and Towers, and (g) Environmental Impacts. Industrially relevant research led by the UT Dallas site is expected to result in: (1) improved systems for controlling wind turbines and wind farms for power production, while mitigating aeromechanical loads, (2) diagnostics and prediction of wind plant performance by fusion of SCADA data and LiDAR data with CFD models at various levels of resolution and run-time efficiency, (3) experimental protocols for evaluation of aerodynamic and structural performance of blades, wind turbine components, and scaled wind plants, (4) decision support tools for grid integration of renewables, (5) novel rotor technologies for offshore wind energy, (6) new systems to mitigate wildlife impacts, and (7) evaluation of materials and construction methods for blades and towers. Experimental facilities available for this research include a highly instrumented boundary layer and subsonic wind tunnel with a large test section designed for wind energy and wind engineering applications.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Prakash Balan
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University of Texas at Dallas
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