USA: Research Buoy Deployed in Lake Michigan

USA: Research Buoy Deployed in Lake Michigan

The research buoy that is collecting data for Grand Valley State University’s offshore wind assessment was placed 35 miles offshore of Lake Michigan May 7, where it remain until December. The buoy will continuously collect data about offshore wind characteristics, along with meteorological, marine and avian data, to help assess the viability of commercial-scale wind energy generation in the Great Lakes.

The buoy can now collect wind measurements up to 175 meters high, which is the same height as next-generation wind turbines currently being marketed, said Arn Boezaart, director of Grand Valley’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. “The data collected with have considerable ‘shelf life’ value for research purposes,” he said. “Using a floating research platform to collect wind measurements that high up has never been done before on the Great Lakes or in North America. This is also the first time a research buoy of this type will operate this far offshore. Project supporters across North America are eagerly waiting for the research results.”

Researchers have not had this kind of real-time field data before, said Jim Edmonson, project manager of the study. He said the measurements will be especially interesting because the mid-lake plateau, where the buoy was placed, is expected to have very high wind energy potential. “It will continue to give manufacturers of the buoy the opportunity to push the limits of the technology for our benefit, to obtain even more valuable data,” he said.

Boezaart said data retrieval from the buoy will take place mainly by satellite due to its remote location. “We’ll physically visit the buoy site every 30-45 days to collect data from the computer data cards, which will be processed by Grand Valley researchers in our School of Engineering and passed on to researchers in other areas,” he said.

As part of the six-hour trip to its stationary location on the lake, a lake bottom survey was completed to inspect the location where the five-ton anchor was dropped and to comply with regulatory requirements.

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Offshore WIND staff, May 08, 2012; Image: gvsu

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