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Wind turbine makes campus more environmentally friendly

William Penn University
March 2, 2009
www.wmpenn.edu

A wind turbine was installed next to the Musco Technology Center this winter. It will serve as an educational tool while also producing energy in the Musco Technology Center.

If you haven’t noticed, a rather tall object has appeared next to the Musco Technology Center on the William Penn campus. A wind turbine has been attached to a pole measuring 99.5 feet tall; its intention is to be educational and functional. All of the electricity it produces will be used in the Musco Technology Center – a move that will make Penn’s campus more environmentally friendly. All of the equipment was donated to the university by Musco. The wind generator will be utilized in Penn classes as well as provide an example for people in the community who might like to install a wind generator themselves.

The pole that is attached to the turbine was originally 100 feet tall, but six inches had to be cut off in order to meet the load limit requirements, according to Applied Technology Division Co-Chair Jim Hoeksema. In its first month, the turbine generated 352 kilowatt hours, a savings of $35.

Skystream Energy, the designer of the turbine installed at Penn, reports electricity bills can be reduced as much as 80% by using the alternative method to make energy. The energy produced by the Skystream 3.7, the model the university has, is more environmentally friendly and reduces dependency on foreign oil.

The turbine has a sound isolator, which will keep it from making noise, and its blades are “swept shape,” which also helps prevent any sound from being released. By having “swept shape” blades, the turbine is more efficient in producing energy as well. The alternator is also unique in that it is capable of producing energy in times of low wind speeds. Skystream Energy reports their product is designed to have a long life-span and blend in naturally with the environment.

The turbine itself measures 12 feet in diameter and weighs 170 pounds. The blades rotate clockwise looking upwind.

“We hope to use the generator for the next 20 or more years,” Hoeksema said.

The generator also has anemometers, which measure wind speed and velocity, attached at different heights. Anemometry Specialists of Alta, Iowa, donated a data collection system to the university including the anemometers, two wind direction vanes, one temperature sensor, and software and hardware for the data collection. According to Hoeksema the system is not yet functional, but will be soon.

“Most people can’t afford a 100 foot pole, so we have anemometers at four different heights on the pole so we can tell people what the same unit would produce at lower heights,” Hoeksema said.

 

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