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Nation's first research-oriented wind turbine constructed near Veale

Sage Schaff

Issue date: 12/3/10 Section: News
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The 156-foot tall wind turbine has been fully operational since Nov. 22
The 156-foot tall wind turbine has been fully operational since Nov. 22
[Click to enlarge]
Many students have noticed the latest addition to Case Western Reserve University's main quad: a 156-foot tall wind turbine. The massive white tower arrived Nov. 15, was constructed near Veale Athletic Center throughout the next week, and was fully operational by Nov. 22. While many other college campuses have wind turbines for the purpose of harnessing energy and sustainability efforts, CWRU's is the first to go beyond that function. Researchers will use the turbine to collect data for use within the university as well as to help various Ohio companies develop new technology.

The School of Engineering obtained funding from both the Ohio government and manufacturers around the state. The Ohio Frontier Commission Wright Project awarded $3 million to the project, while at least seven other companies have combined to match that amount. CWRU is looking to get more companies who can benefit from wind energy research on board. Azure Energy was the general contractor for the project, but Norris Brothers, a local company, was responsible for building the foundation, erecting the tower, and attaching the blade. Northern Power Systems, based in Vermont, built the turbine at their headquarters and also had a representative present during the week of construction. The Case Daily from Dec. 1 contains a link to a short YouTube video depicting the attachment of the blade to the tower.

Engineering professor David Matthiesen was the original driving force behind building a wind turbine on campus. "A few years ago, I came up with the idea of using a wind turbine as a research instrument to allow companies to demonstrate their products," he said. This approach gives the turbine multiple purposes.

The companies that helped fund the construction of the turbine will be able to do research on their own products in order to advance technology in their fields. For example, Matthiesen explained that Cleveland Electric Labs (CEL) will utilize CWRU's tower to test the effectiveness of fiber optic strain sensors. CEL is a company that manufactures platinum thermocouples, which are temperature sensors often used on large structures such as bridges. They can also be used to convert heat into electric power, which is how they will be tested here.
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Issue Summary


  • A conversation with Professor Jessica Green
  • Nation's first research-oriented wind turbine constructed near Veale
  • Thwing Study Over to provide students much-needed break this Sunday
  • Transformation on horizon for KSL
  • USG reflects upon accomplishments at last meeting of semester


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  • Spartans encounter cold spell late in second half, go 0-2 in JCU tournament
  • Spartans place 18th at cross country NCAA championships
  • Sports Shorts
  • Women fall behind early, lose to Baldwin-Wallace

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  • Magic of Mr. CWRU uses talent, gusto to benefit East Cleveland
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