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Iowa State Creates Research, Education Programs

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AIMES, Iowa, July 3, 2012 — Iowa State University engineers, researchers and educators want to be part of America’s wind energy solution.

And so they’re building programs and partnerships to boost the university’s expertise in just about every aspect of the wind energy industry: aerodynamics, grid integration, manufacturing, meteorology, nacelles and blades, policy, reliability and towers.

So far, the College of Engineering’s Wind Energy Initiative has attracted more than $6 million in grants to support education and research projects.

“At the national level, wind energy is becoming very prominent,” says Sri Sritharan, Iowa State’s Wilson Engineering Professor; the College of Engineering’s associate chair for graduate study and research; and the leader of the Wind Energy Initiative. “The Department of Energy has proposed a scenario of 20% of electrical energy from wind by 2030. That means you have to increase wind energy production by at least 10 times over the next 18 years.”

The wind project is one of the three Dean’s Research Initiatives launched by Jonathan Wickert, dean of the College of Engineering and, effective July 30, Iowa State’s next senior vice president and provost. The initiatives in wind, a carbon-negative economy and computational biology were each launched in March 2011 with $500,000 to build interdisciplinary research teams that can compete for multimillion dollar grants and projects.

Already, for example, the wind initiative has attracted $3.2 million to develop the country’s first doctoral program in wind energy science, engineering and policy; $1.3 million to study the icing and de-icing of wind turbine blades; and $1 million for advanced manufacturing research.

Sritharan said Iowa and Iowa State have some competitive advantages when it comes to wind energy. Iowa is the nation’s No. 2 state in wind energy production. The state already produces about 20 percent of its electrical energy from wind. The state is also home to facilities that manufacture wind blades, turbines and towers. And Iowa State has strengths in engineering, manufacturing and materials research. 

Source:, © 2012 GIE Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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