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Monday, July 20, 2009

UWM gets grant to help make wind power flow continuously

From an article by Tom Content in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are trying to figure out ways to make power from wind keep flowing even when the wind isn't blowing.

One phase of that research received a $422,266 grant Thursday from the U.S. Department of Energy for a project that could boost the efficiency of wind turbines by relieving some of the wear and tear on turbine gear boxes.

The engineering school research is taking place in phases - with the final leg studying the use of batteries to capture wind power generated when demand for electricity is low, storing it and then sending it to the grid when demand for power rises.

"What happens is that the wind speed is very high and we have very good wind speed after midnight, and very early morning when there is not much load (demand) on the grid," said Adel Nasiri, an assistant professor in the electrical engineering department. "In the afternoon when there is high demand, there is no wind."

The UWM research is another example of efforts under way in the Milwaukee area to create an economic-development cluster centered on energy storage and advanced batteries. Others include partnerships between Eaton Corp. and ZBB Corp. of Menomonee Falls, and work by Johnson Controls Inc. in Glendale and its joint venture partner, Saft, to develop lithium-ion batteries for plug-in hybrid cars.

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