IIT Installs Chicago’s First Advanced Wind Turbine – Ribbon Cutting Event this Wednesday

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) celebrates the installation of Chicago’s first research-focused wind turbine at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Wednesday, July 20 at 12:15 pm on Stuart Field.The small 8kW Viryd turbine is a part of the IIT Wind Energy Consortium, a $9 million, two-year research project managed by the university’s Robert W. Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and private partners. The consortium is working to help reduce the cost of wind power so that the nation may reach its target of 20% Wind Energy by 2030.

The turbine stands on IIT’s Stuart Field at 31st and Federal Streets and is one of three turbines acquired by the university for research by the consortium. The 8kW Viryd turbine erected today is an advanced design that will serve as a test unit for optimization algorithms and stress testing on an identical unit installed in a university laboratory.

The IIT Wind Consortium also will be conducting a ribbon-cutting ceremony today on its large 1.5 MW GE Turbine located on a wind farm in Marseilles, Illinois, managed by Invenergy. This utility-grade research turbine is outfitted with high-performing technology designed to increase the output and reduce wear and tear of components, which will ultimately increase the lifespan and performance of the structure.

The technology includes an innovative set of add-on instrumentation and analytical techniques that can detect emerging wind turbine gearbox and other mechanical problems developed by GE Intelligent Platforms (formerly SmartSignal). Other technology includes CatchTheWind’s Vindicator© Laser Wind Sensor, a laser unit that sits atop the nacelle and measures the wind in front of the turbine blades using laser doppler velocimeter technology. The sensor enables the turbine to dance towards the wind to increase output and minimize stress to components. In addition to these instruments, IIT has developed sophisticated phased array acoustic sensors in order to pinpoint acoustic sources on the wind turbine and develop noise reduction technologies.

Published in 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s “20% Wind Energy by 2030″ report outlines the projected impacts of an increase in wind energy generation. A higher wind energy level has the potential to create American jobs, reduce fuel prices and stabilize electricity rates, create an income source for rural landowners, and lower air pollution.

The consortium is only one of the projects managed by the IIT Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation aimed at pursuing groundbreaking work in the generation, transmission, distribution, management and consumption of electricity.