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Ryerson planning six research turbines

by David Meyer

C. WELLINGTON TWP.

There are more wind turbines coming to this area, although a project plan­ned for Highway 6 just north of Fergus is far different from the wind farm proposal for Belwood.

Ryerson University will be doing tests of various sized windmills on about 50 acres of land owned by Richard Ross.

The project is made pos­sible by a Canada Founda­tion for Innovation (CFI) and Min­istry of Industry grant recently announc­ed for more than $665-million for new state-of-the-art infrastruc­ture at 41 Canadian research insti­tutions.

Ryerson University’s Dr. Bin Wu’s “WindTech R&D” pro­ject was funded for $729,771.

The main objective of the Wind­Tech project is to conduct research in wind ener­gy generation and utilization. The WindTech mandate is to advance wind energy tech­no­logies through research and innovation, thus accelerating the development, generation and integration of wind energy.

Property owner Richard Ross said in an interview last week the turbines “are all small” and that their total out­put would be about 40kW. A normal house with two amp services would use about 24kW of power.

Ross said the research could provide a number of benefits for the area.

First, he said, the smaller tur­bines will be much cheaper to build and install and they will run along his lane. There will be several different types of turbines, which will allow a variety of technology and com­parative testing.

Those turbines will be con­nected to turbines that are already located on the property.

Researchers in four Onta­rio institutions will actively parti­cipate in the project, including Ryerson University (leading institution), University of Tor­onto, University of Water­loo and University of Western On­ta­rio.

The WindTech facility will also be used by the dealers, suppliers, developers, grid own­­ers and operators and elec­tricity regulators in the wind energy business for testing, data requisition and other purposes.

The WindTech program will provide practical, hands-on training for students and other technical personnel. That is to better prepare trainees to enter high technology jobs in the emerging wind energy market, and thus contribute to the eco­nomic growth in Canada.

Ross said there will be two turbines at 90 feet high and the largest of those will gen­er­ate 10kW. The smallest would generate 5.3kW.

Ross said, “The existence of small turbines on my property would mean no larger ones nearby.”

That is because with turbine technology, placing turbines on some properties eliminates their use on other properties be­cause they would interfere with each other’s operation.

“Any large wind farms would have to stay away,” Ross said. He added, “We’re not in­volved in any way with these large wind farms.”

Ross said the project will cost about $1.2-million, with 80% of that in the form of grants and 20% from Ryerson itself.

The wind turbines are of different technologies and designs. They include hori­zon­tal- and vertical-axis turbines, induction and synchronous gen­erators, single-phase and three-phase systems, variable- and fixed-speed operations, grid-tied and standalone sys­tems, and gearboxed and dir­ect-drive technologies.

These turbines represent the latest wind energy technology and can be used to develop lead­ing edge technologies for future applications. The wind tur­bine systems were selected so they can be used to fulfill all the research objectives and activities.

Since the power rating of the facility is below 50kW and all the turbines are land-based, the facility is  Class 2.

The activities that will be engaged in as part of the re­new­able energy project.

The research activities can be categorized into four areas.

Investigates power conver­ter systems and wind genera­tors to match the different scal­es of wind energy generation. Those include cost-effective, low-power converters for small wind turbines in rural areas, high-performance converters for larger wind turbines in commercial wind farms, and innovative wind generators for enhanced performance and reliable operation.

Develops control schemes for various types of wind ener­gy systems. Advanced controls ensure maximum wind power capture and conversion, mini­mum manufacturing and opera­t­ing costs, optimal system per­formance, and reliable turbines.

The project will also focus on reliable fault diagnostics and protection of individual wind turbines and wind farms to accommodate grid-side pow­er-quality events and erratic wind speeds that can damage wind turbines and other equip­ment in a wind farm.

It will also address wind farm power management through active and reactive power control, frequency regu­lation, and grid voltage control. The adverse effects of wind farm interactions with the grid intensify as levels of wind pow­er penetration increase. To be integrated into the utility grid, wind farms must meet standard codes that govern the operation, development, and coordination of all grid users.

The name plate capacity of the renewable energy generation facility.

The project expects no negative environmental effects. All the turbines have small power ratings. The biggest turbine is 10kW only and all horizontal-axis turbines are of three blades operating at low rotational speeds.

The three-blade turbines produce much lower noises than two-blade turbines.

In addition, no farmland will be taken out of production since all of the wind turbine will be erected on the existing laneway (used by farming vehicles and equipment) of Class 3 land.

Ross said that he expects there will be some construction jobs created for the project. He added that the site is within commuting distance of Toronto, London, and Water­loo, and he expects many researchers will be working there one or more days a week.

But, he added, just because it is within an easy drive does not prevent researchers from relocating to the community.

Finally, he said, such a facility could attract other high tech operations to Centre Wellington. He noted that Waterloo has many high tech firms due to the innovation of Research in Motion, and he foresees the same possibilities for Centre Wellington and area.

Dr. Bin Wu is the lead researcher of the project. The Advertiser left messages for him, but he did not respond.

 

Vol 43 Issue 13

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