Wind energy is advancing as a clean and renewable source of electrical power and a force for Ohio’s economic growth. Wind turbines can be used in small applications such as a single home or business (less than 100 kilowatts) while large wind turbines can produce 5 megawatts- enough energy to power more than 1400 homes a year.

At CWRU, wind energy research emphasizes several facets:

  • Controls, power management and grid interface expertise to support increased use of offshore wind power
  • Measurement and characterization of wind energy for the productive supply of advanced sustainable electrical energy
  • Mechanical, aerodynamic, and structural simulations of turbine components and arrays to accommodate specific development concerns
  • Foundations and geotechnical challenges in the evolution of innovative prototype hardware and control strategies for optimized deployment
  • Materials solutions for performance, durability and cost reduction 

The University’s expertise in wind is augmented by the newly funded Wind Energy Research & Commercialization Center. The WERC Center has erected three wind turbines in the Cleveland area to be used as a platform for the development of wind power supply chain products and long-term educational and training opportunities.  Read more here.

CWRU’s wind energy research also features collaboration with industry partners. The University is partnering with Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) as the research arm for LEEDCo’s Project Icebreaker. Project Icebreaker will establish the first freshwater wind farm 7 miles off the coast of Lake Erie with 5-9, 3 MW turbines on “ice breaker” monopoles (see more here). Icebreaker was one of seven projects awarded $4 million from the US Department of Energy. An addition >$1 million in private funding was awarded in December 2012 for Project Icebreaker.

In addition to wind research on Project Icebreaker, CWRU is responsible for analysis of the content and characteristics of the sediment at the bottom of the lake; this research will be crucial in adequately placing and supporting the turbines. Icebreaker hopes to generate 1000 MW of wind energy starting 2020, enough wind energy for up to 400,000 households. The project will create 600 construction jobs and 60 permanent positions and has the potential to bring new business and increased tourist traffic to Cleveland. LEEDCo’s project is eligible to be awarded an additional $46 million of funding in May 2014.