Even though the generation of electricity through wind power has increased nationally and worldwide, many challenges — including reliability, overall wind farm performance and offshore wind — still exist.
The International Conference on Future Technologies for Wind Energy — Oct. 7-9 in the University of Wyoming (UW) Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn — will focus on addressing technology developments necessary for wind turbines and wind farms to keep improving.
“We’re focusing on technology,” says Jonathan Naughton, UW professor of mechanical engineering and Wind Energy Research Center director. Naughton is among conference organizers. “What is the effect of one turbine on another? How do you make entire wind farms efficient?”
Session topics will focus on blade manufacturing processes, blade materials, wind turbine aerodynamics, turbine reliability, structural design, wind resource assessment and enabling technologies for wind energy integration.
DTU Technical University of Denmark, the Danish Agency for Science Technology and Innovation (DATSI) Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation, and the UW School of Energy Resources are the primary sponsors of the conference. Other sponsors include UW Wind Energy Research Center, UW College of Engineering and Applied Science, UW Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Western Research Institute of Engineering, Energy and the Environment (WindEEE).
For a complete schedule and to register, go to http://www.uwyo.edu/ser/conferences/wind-energy.html.
More than 20 speakers have been invited to the conference, including two from UW — Mark Balas, electrical and computer engineering professor; and Jay Sitaraman, mechanical engineering professor. DTU Technical University of Denmark will be represented by eight invited speakers. In addition, speakers are from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the National Wind Technology Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Siemens, a wind turbine manufacturer in Boulder, Colo.; Montana State University and Indiana University.
More than 40 contributing speakers, many from UW, also are represented.
“Wind technology has become a mainstream technology at this point,” Naughton says. “It’s come down to a price point where it’s competitive with other forms of energy. But, it’s not mature.”
Naughton compared what he termed “the third generation of wind turbines” with aviation technology as it existed immediately after World War II.
“What we fly today is radically different,” he says of today’s aircraft. “Wind turbines do well and are competitive. But, could they do better? Can we put them up for 20 years and have them be reliable? Can we make them bigger without adverse effects?”
Last year, a similar conference took place in Hyderabad, India. Naughton surmised UW was chosen as the conference location for a number of reasons, including Wyoming has some of the best wind resource in the continental United States; UW’s track record of wind energy research; and the university’s proximity to labs that focus on wind energy research.
“We’re honored to be a co-host,” he says. “It’s important they (DTU) see us as enough of a player to be a sponsor on this.”
Press release, September 26, 2013; Image: Vestas