Tapping Into the Power of the Wind
Rensselaer has begun tapping into the power of the wind to
generate electricity, with a newly installed wind turbine off
Sunset Terrace on the east side of campus.
The new wind turbine is the product of a student research
project that began two years ago when Jim Adams '02 began
collecting wind data from the eastern portion of the campus for
his senior thesis. Adams now works for AWS Scientific, an
Albany-based energy consulting firm. He returned to campus this
year, working in conjunction with Rensselaer, to secure a New
York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
grant to install the wind turbine.
Power from the 10-kilowatt, three-blade wind turbine will be
transmitted to the campus power grid, according to Oliver
Holmes, director of campus planning and facilities design. The
project is funded by Rensselaer and NYSERDA.
"The electric power generated and the utility costs saved are
important, but there is also value in the research and
education opportunities for students, faculty, and the
community," Holmes says.
The wind turbine is attached to an 80-foot, "tilt down" tower
that can be lowered for access by faculty and students to
investigate the inner workings of the turbine, Holmes
David Borton '73, Ph.D., adjunct associate professor of
mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, plans to use
the new wind turbine as part of his engineering course on solar
devices and energy. "We will no longer have to rely on
pictures," Borton says. "We now have another example of a
renewable energy source on campus that students can use to
understand the benefits of these technologies." He also uses
the photovoltaic tracker adjacent to the Voorhees Computing
Center in his class.
Originally published in
Rensselaer Magazine, Spring 2004