Doe Science news source
The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2007-12-11 10:50:00
  • Article ID: 536137

Wind Turbines Produce "Green" Energy -- and Airflow Mysteries

  • Credit: Will Kirk/JHU

    Using laser pulses and model wind turbines, Johns Hopkins researchers are able to collect important data about the airflow that is likely to occur around full-size machines that produce "green" energy.

  • Credit: Will Kirk/JHU

    A model airplane propeller is mounted atop a pole to create a small wind turbine for testing in a campus wind tunnel.

  • Credit: Will Kirk/JHU

    The Johns Hopkins researchers who are participating in the wind turbine study are Charles Meneveau, professor of mechanical engineering; Raul B. Cal, a postdoctoral fellow; and Hyung S. Kang, an associate research scientist.

  • Credit: Will Kirk/JHU

    These model windmills are arranged in a wind tunnel to replicate the arrangement of multiple turbines at a typical wind farm.

  • Credit: Will Kirk/JHU

    This "active grid" creates turbulence so that the currents within the wind tunnel more closely resemble real-life wind conditions.

  • Credit: Will Kirk/JHU

    The wind turbine research is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Energy for Sustainability Program.

THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY

OFFICE OF NEWS AND INFORMATION

Suite 540, 901 S. Bond St.

Baltimore, Maryland 21231

December 11, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Phil Sneiderman

(443) 287-9960

prs@jhu.edu

Note: A video about this research is at http://www.jhu.edu/news/audio-video/wind.html

WIND TURBINES PRODUCE 'GREEN' ENERGY—AND AIRFLOW MYSTERIES

--Aiming laser at model windmills shows how clean power source can stir up the atmosphere

Using smoke, laser light, model airplane propellers and a campus wind tunnel, a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers is trying to solve the airflow mysteries that surround wind turbines, an increasingly popular source of "green" energy. The National Science Foundation recently awarded the team a three-year, $321,000 grant to support the project.

The rise in oil prices and a growing demand for energy from non-polluting sources has led to a global boom in construction of tall wind turbines that convert the power of moving air into electricity. The technology of these devices has improved dramatically in recent years, making wind energy more attractive. For example, Denmark is able to produce about 20 percent of its electric energy through wind turbines. But important questions remain: Could large wind farms, whipping up the air with massive whirling blades, alter local weather conditions? Could changing the arrangement of these turbines lead to even more efficient power production? The researchers from Johns Hopkins and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hope their work will help answer such questions.

"With diameters spanning up to 100 meters across, these wind turbines are the largest rotating machines ever built," said research team leader Charles Meneveau, a turbulence expert in Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering.

"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. 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.

The researchers gather information on the interaction of the air currents and the model turbines by using a high-tech procedure called stereo particle-image-velocimetry. First, they "seed" the air in the tunnel with a form of smoke—tiny particles that move with the prevailing airflow. Above the model turbines, a laser generates two sheet-like pulses of light in quick succession. A camera captures the position of particles at the time of each flash. "When the images are processed, we see that there are two dots for every particle," said Meneveau, who is the university's Louis M. Sardella Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

"Because we know the time difference between the two laser shots, we can calculate the velocity. So we get an instantaneous snapshot of the velocity vector at each point. Having these vector maps allows us to calculate how much kinetic energy is flowing from one place to another, in much greater detail than what was possible before."

Raul B. Cal, a Johns Hopkins postdoctoral fellow who is working on the project with Meneveau, said this data could lead to a better understanding of real wind farm conditions. "What happens when you put these wind turbines too close together or too far apart? What if you align them staggered or in parallel?" he asked. "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."

Meneveau pointed out that dense clusters of wind turbines also could affect nearby temperatures and humidity levels, and cumulatively, perhaps, alter local weather conditions. Highly accurate computer models will be needed to unravel the various effects involved. "Our research will provide the fluid dynamical data necessary to improve the accuracy of such computer models," Meneveau said. "We'd better know what the effects are in order to implement wind turbine technology in the most sustainable and efficient fashion possible."

Meneveau and Cal are collaborating with Luciano Castillo, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Hyung S. Kang, an associate research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins.

The project's funding was provided through the National Science Foundation's Energy for Sustainability Program.

Color images of wind tunnel experiments and the researchers available; contact Phil Sneiderman

Related links:

Charles Meneveau's Research Page: http://www.me.jhu.edu/~meneveau/

Johns Hopkins Department of Mechanical Engineering: http://www.me.jhu.edu/

###

Video is available by contacting the source.

X
X
X
  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

Scientists Discover Path to Improving Game-Changing Battery Electrode

Researchers from Stanford University, two Department of Energy national labs and the battery manufacturer Samsung created a comprehensive picture of how the same chemical processes that give cathodes their high capacity are also linked to changes in atomic structure that sap performance.

ESnet's Petascale DTN Project Speeds up Data Transfers between Leading HPC Centers

A new Petascale Data Transfer Node project aims to to achieve regular disk-to-disk, end-to-end transfer rates of one petabyte per week between major supercomputing facilities, which translates to achievable throughput rates of about 15 Gbps on real world science data sets.

Underappreciated Microbes Now Get Credit for Holding Down Two Jobs in Soil

Soil microbes work as both decomposers and synthesizers of carbon compounds in soil, offering new answers with impacts to crops and eco-health.

Energy, Economy, and the Earth: The Benefits of Creating Feedback Loops

Scientists reduce uncertainties in future climate prediction by directly coupling an energy-economy model to an Earth system model.

How Grasslands Regulate Their Productivity in Response to Droughts

Scientists show that grasslands are more sensitive to changes in the amount of moisture in the air than to changes in precipitation.

Building Confidence in Hydrologic Models

Scientists evaluate seven hydrologic models to understand how each model agrees and differs.

New Research Shows Hydropower Dams Can Be Managed Without an All-or-Nothing Choice Between Energy and Food

Nearly 100 hydropower dams are planned for construction along tributaries off the Mekong River's 2,700-mile stretch. In Science Magazine, researchers present a mathematical formula to balance power generation needs with needs of fisheries downstream.

El Nino and Liquid Water Clouds Contribute to Antarctic Melt in 2015-2016

Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) observations provide clues on atmospheric contributions to an Antarctic melt event.

Designer Yeast Consumes Plant Matter and Spits Out Fatty Alcohols for Detergents and Biofuels

Highest concentration and yield of valuable chemicals reported in industrial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Scientists Create Stretchable Battery Made Entirely Out of Fabric

A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has developed an entirely textile-based, bacteria-powered bio-battery that could one day be integrated into wearable electronics.


  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

WVU Physicists Among Collaborators Granted $7 Million to Form U.S. Department of Energy Center of Excellence

Scientists pause each afternoon at Kirtland Air Force Base in Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, awaiting the daily lightning flash and unmistakable floor jolt that accompanies a Z shot

US Dept. Of Energy Grant to Advance Combined Heat and Power Systems in the Midwest

The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a five-year, $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help industrial, commercial, institutional and utility entities evaluate and install highly efficient combined heat and power (CHP) technologies.CHP, also known as cogeneration, is a single system that produces both thermal energy and electricity.

Applications Open: ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship 2018-2019

ECS, in a continued partnership with the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), is requesting proposals from young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology.

Successful Startup Founder to Lead Entrepreneurship Program at Argonne

John Carlisle has been named the director of Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI), a program aimed at accelerating job creation through innovation, based at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.

Department of Energy Supports Argonne Nuclear Technologies

This fall, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced nearly $4.7 million in funding for the department's Argonne National Laboratory across 16 projects in three divisions. Four of those TCF awards, representing more than $1 million in funds, are slated for Argonne's Nuclear Engineering division.

Southern Research Develops Gasifier Technology to Unlock Coal's Potential

Southern Research has been selected to receive nearly $1.7 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding to develop a new, cost-efficient gasifier capable of converting low-grade coal into synthesis gas (syngas) that can be used in a number of applications.

CEBAF Begins Operations following Upgrade Completion

The world's most advanced particle accelerator for investigating the quark structure of matter is gearing up to begin its first experiments following official completion of an upgrade to triple its original design energy. The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility is now back online and ramping up for the start of experiments.

Chory and Walter Awarded Breakthrough Prizes

HHMI Investigators Joanne Chory and Peter Walter are among five scientists honored for transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life.

Shantenu Jha Named Chair of Brookhaven Lab's Center for Data-Driven Discovery

Jha--a computational scientist who holds a joint appointment as an associate professor at Rutgers University--will lead a center that provides the focal point for data science research and development.

Five Brookhaven Lab Scientists Named 2017 American Physical Society Fellows

Anatoly Frenkel, Morgan May, Rachid Nouicer, Eric Stach, and Peter Steinberg were recognized for their outstanding contributions to astrophysics, materials physics, and nuclear physics.


  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

Underappreciated Microbes Now Get Credit for Holding Down Two Jobs in Soil

Soil microbes work as both decomposers and synthesizers of carbon compounds in soil, offering new answers with impacts to crops and eco-health.

Energy, Economy, and the Earth: The Benefits of Creating Feedback Loops

Scientists reduce uncertainties in future climate prediction by directly coupling an energy-economy model to an Earth system model.

How Grasslands Regulate Their Productivity in Response to Droughts

Scientists show that grasslands are more sensitive to changes in the amount of moisture in the air than to changes in precipitation.

Building Confidence in Hydrologic Models

Scientists evaluate seven hydrologic models to understand how each model agrees and differs.

El Nino and Liquid Water Clouds Contribute to Antarctic Melt in 2015-2016

Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) observations provide clues on atmospheric contributions to an Antarctic melt event.

Designer Yeast Consumes Plant Matter and Spits Out Fatty Alcohols for Detergents and Biofuels

Highest concentration and yield of valuable chemicals reported in industrial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Making Polymer Chemistry Click

Scientists unlock the key to efficiently make a new class of engineering polymers.

Photosynthesis without Cells: Turning Light into Fuel

An entirely human-made architecture produces hydrogen fuel using light, shows promise for transmitting energy in numerous applications.

Craters on Graphene: Electrons Impact

Novel defect control in graphene enables direct imaging of trapped electrons that follow Einstein's rules.

A Molecular Zipper for Efficient Gas Separation

Metal-organic frameworks with chains of iron centers adsorb and release carbon monoxide with very little energy input.


Spotlight

Tuesday October 03, 2017, 01:05 PM

Stairway to Science

Argonne National Laboratory

Thursday September 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

After-School Energy Rush

Argonne National Laboratory

Thursday September 28, 2017, 10:05 AM

Bringing Diversity Into Computational Science Through Student Outreach

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Thursday September 21, 2017, 03:05 PM

From Science to Finance: SLAC Summer Interns Forge New Paths in STEM

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday September 07, 2017, 02:05 PM

Students Discuss 'Cosmic Opportunities' at 45th Annual SLAC Summer Institute

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday August 31, 2017, 05:05 PM

Binghamton University Opens $70 Million Smart Energy Building

Binghamton University, State University of New York

Wednesday August 23, 2017, 05:05 PM

Widening Horizons for High Schoolers with Code

Argonne National Laboratory

Saturday May 20, 2017, 12:05 PM

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduates Urged to Embrace Change at 211th Commencement

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Monday May 15, 2017, 01:05 PM

ORNL, University of Tennessee Launch New Doctoral Program in Data Science

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Wednesday April 05, 2017, 12:05 PM

High-Schooler Solves College-Level Security Puzzle From Argonne, Sparks Interest in Career

Argonne National Laboratory

Tuesday March 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jenica Jacobi

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

Argonne National Laboratory

Friday January 27, 2017, 04:00 PM

Haslam Visits ORNL to Highlight State's Role in Discovering Tennessine

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tuesday November 08, 2016, 12:05 PM

Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday May 13, 2016, 04:05 PM

More Than 12,000 Explore Jefferson Lab During April 30 Open House

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Monday April 25, 2016, 05:05 PM

Giving Back to National Science Bowl

Ames Laboratory

Friday March 25, 2016, 12:05 PM

NMSU Undergrad Tackles 3D Particle Scattering Animations After Receiving JSA Research Assistantship

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Tuesday February 02, 2016, 10:05 AM

Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Monday November 16, 2015, 04:05 PM

Rare Earths for Life: An 85th Birthday Visit with Mr. Rare Earth

Ames Laboratory

Tuesday October 20, 2015, 01:05 PM

Meet Robert Palomino: 'Give Everything a Shot!'

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Tuesday April 22, 2014, 11:30 AM

University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

University of Utah

Wednesday March 06, 2013, 03:40 PM

Student Innovator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Seeks Brighter, Smarter, and More Efficient LEDs

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday November 16, 2012, 10:00 AM

Texas Tech Energy Commerce Students, Community Light up Tent City

Texas Tech University

Wednesday November 23, 2011, 10:45 AM

Don't Get 'Frosted' Over Heating Your Home This Winter

Temple University

Wednesday July 06, 2011, 06:00 PM

New Research Center To Tackle Critical Challenges Related to Aircraft Design, Wind Energy, Smart Buildings

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday April 22, 2011, 09:00 AM

First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money

Wake Forest University

Friday April 15, 2011, 12:25 PM

Like Superman, American University Will Get Its Energy from the Sun

American University

Thursday February 10, 2011, 05:00 PM

ARRA Grant to Help Fund Seminary Building Green Roof

University of Chicago

Tuesday December 07, 2010, 05:00 PM

UC San Diego Installing 2.8 Megawatt Fuel Cell to Anchor Energy Innovation Park

University of California San Diego

Monday November 01, 2010, 12:50 PM

Rensselaer Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center Announces First Deployment of New Technology on Campus

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday September 10, 2010, 12:40 PM

Ithaca College Will Host Regional Clean Energy Summit

Ithaca College

Tuesday July 27, 2010, 10:30 AM

Texas Governor Announces $8.4 Million Award to Create Renewable Energy Institute

Texas Tech University

Friday May 07, 2010, 04:20 PM

Creighton University to Offer New Alternative Energy Program

Creighton University

Wednesday May 05, 2010, 09:30 AM

National Engineering Program Seeks Subject Matter Experts in Energy

JETS Junior Engineering Technical Society

Wednesday April 21, 2010, 12:30 PM

Students Using Solar Power To Create Sustainable Solutions for Haiti, Peru

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday March 03, 2010, 07:00 PM

Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Thursday February 04, 2010, 02:00 PM

Turning Exercise into Electricity

Furman University

Thursday November 12, 2009, 12:45 PM

Campus Leaders Showing the Way to a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Tuesday November 03, 2009, 04:20 PM

Furman University Receives $2.5 Million DOE Grant for Geothermal Project

Furman University

Thursday September 17, 2009, 02:45 PM

Could Sorghum Become a Significant Alternative Fuel Source?

Salisbury University

Wednesday September 16, 2009, 11:15 AM

Students Navigating the Hudson River With Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday September 16, 2009, 10:00 AM

College Presidents Flock to D.C., Urge Senate to Pass Clean Energy Bill

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Wednesday July 01, 2009, 04:15 PM

Northeastern Announces New Professional Master's in Energy Systems

Northeastern University

Friday October 12, 2007, 09:35 AM

Kansas Rural Schools To Receive Wind Turbines

Kansas State University

Thursday August 17, 2006, 05:30 PM

High Gas Prices Here to Stay, Says Engineering Professor

Rowan University





Showing results

0-4 Of 2215