The Development & Operation of the Energy Innovation Center Wind Turbine
What started as a Design Challenge Program for 30 students from three participating High Schools (Schools (Parkway West Career Technology Center, Carlynton and South Fayette) ended with the installation of a WindStax Wind Turbine.
The Design Challenge Program is a career exploration initiative wherein students are presented with a consulting assignment (prepared in “Request For Proposal” Format), a set of Corporate Executives to supervise their work and technical support throughout their semester assignment. To date, 16 high schools have participated in various Energy Innovation Center (EIC) design assignments. The EIC Wind Turbine is just one example of the Design Challenge Program.
The Energy Innovation Center Wind Turbine began generating power in June. This is a 40′ tall WindStax® vertical wind turbine. WindStax designs and manufactures the largest vertical axis wind turbines in the US. Traditional windmill blades work on principals of lift. WindStax rotors operate on principals of drag to convert wind energy into electrical energy. The patented designs give them unique characteristics. Their high torque low RPM operation is avian-friendly, nearly silent, nondirectional, and more conducive to turbulent winds near the ground and in urban areas than windmills. Each rotor operates independently. WindStax turbines are configured to operate efficiently in conditions unique to their location. The turbine at the Energy Innovation Center produces AC power that is converted and stored in a DC battery bank. The battery uses a non-toxic and non-flammable Aqueous electrolyte that is 100% recyclable. Wind energy is produced, stored, and consumed on site in a WindStax ZeroFirst® microgrid.
At the EIC, the turbine operates its own controls and LED lighting. Excess energy is released as heat. The turbine is rated at 5.6kW, 3kWh battery storage, and 2kW 15A AC output. Prevailing wind direction is from the Southwest. Average annual wind speed is 8.61 MPH which can vary greatly daily and seasonally due to elevation. Windiest months are historically November through March. The EIC WindStax produces enough energy to power the average US household. Annual greenhouse gas offset equivalent is 8.6 Tons of CO2, which is equal to 19,000 passenger car miles or 8,500 pounds of coal burned, or 18 barrels of oil consumed. The LED lighting will operate dusk to dawn. A video of the lighting pattern can be seen here, https://vimeo.com/337318226. You may be interested in the following information on this
Funding for the EIC Wind Turbine came from:
1. In kind contributions and significant discounts provided by Windstax Corporation
2. A $20,000 cash contribution from Epic Metals
3. Pittsburgh Gateways Corporation and Energy Innovation Center, LP
Advisors to the Student Team:
1. Ron Gdovic, Founder and CEO of Windstax
2. Mike Broeker ,President and Chief Operating Officer of Epiphany Solar Water Purification Systems Solutions
3. William Meisinger, Senior Engineer (retired) Koppers Corporation