Proposed technology center will focus on wind energy development

The University of Massachusetts Lowell, along with three other U.S. universities, is proposing to create the Center for Wind Energy, Science, Technology and Research (WindSTAR). Composites are to be a major focus of the center.

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The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) reported on Feb. 8 that it is part of a group of partners proposing to form the Center for Wind Energy, Science, Technology, and Research (WIndSTAR). It will aim to enhance national excellence in wind energy research and development that has direct relevance to industry, and to develop a cadre of diverse undergraduate and graduate students with world class training who will support and eventually lead in the analysis, design, manufacture, installation, operation and maintenance of wind energy systems.

Research efforts will be anchored by the University of Massachusetts Lowell as the lead institution, partnering with Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Dallas, and Iowa State University. The team is actively seeking industrial collaborators to join the center.

The proposed I/UCRC will address industrially relevant research to advance and support the development of wind energy systems with low-cost energy and high reliability. The partners intend to engage in a cooperative program of research and education in the following areas:

  • Composites in Wind Energy
  • Foundations and Towers
  • Manufacturing and Design
  • Structural Health Monitoring, Non-Destructive Inspection and Testing
  • Control Systems and Storage
  • Wind System Planning, Siting, Operations and Maintenance.

The proposed center will provide a forum in which wind turbine manufacturers, manufacturers of key components, suppliers of ancillary equipment, service companies and wind project developers can work together to solve problems that are of mutual interest. In addition, the center will work to develop and integrate educational activities that enhance recruitment and retention of diverse student populations.

The center intends to collaborate with KidWind, which provides teaching materials for K-12 teachers, and manages regional and national challenges for team turbine design competitions. The center will provide a conduit for the transfer of ideas among KidWind, industry, and academe and will engage industrial partners to develop regional training programs between educators and industry to create a sustainable pipeline of future STEM workers with strong interest by women and underrepresented groups. 

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