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CCEFP Initiatives Focus On Hydraulics

In Future Wind Power Generation Systems

CCEFP Initiatives Focus On HydraulicsThe Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) is a network of researchers, educators, students and industry working together to transform the fluid power industry—how it is researched, applied and studied.

Established in 2006 as a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center and headquartered on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, MN, the CCEFP includes Purdue, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Vanderbilt, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Milwaukee School of Engineering, and North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University as well as more than four dozen industry member companies.

A current CCEFP research and teaching initiatives involves expanding the role of hydraulics in wind power technology. Wide scale use of wind as a power source is rich with potential, but because the generation of wind energy requires power and weight levels that are higher than typical fluid power applications (500 kilowatts to 5 megawatts), CCEFP has recognized that both research and teaching are vital elements in the effort to fully exploit this opportunity.

CCEFP has launched three research projects related to hydraulic applications in wind power systems:

  • An $8 million Department of Energy wind power research grant to University of Minnesota has led to the formation of an industry consortium to help accelerate the study. A central focus will be experiments on an instrumented 2.5 megawatt Clipper Liberty wind turbine at the university’s facility at UMORE Park in Rosemount, Minnesota.
  • A $2 million National Science Foundation grant to support a study of energy storage for wind power by researchers at the University of Virginia and Worchester Polytechnic Institute along with Lightsail Energy, an energy storage company in Oakland, California.
  • A seed grant to study hydrostatic drives for wind transmissions which will be conducted by CCEFP industry partners in a consortium.

The CCEFP is also actively involved in teaching the next generation of engineers about the possibilities for fluid power in the wind power industry as well as more traditional applications. As a result of their efforts many new classes are now offered with this emphasis and a graduate-level course dedicated to the study of wind power has been introduced at the University of Minnesota. It will likely serve as a model for similar courses in other universities.    

Highlights of some of the CCEFP’s most important work in this area will be shared at a special session at the International Fluid Power Exhibition (IFPE) March 22-26 in Las Vegas. Fluid Power for Wind Applications will be presented at IFPE during the 52nd National Conference on Fluid Power,
March 23-25.

Anyone with an interest in the future of hydraulics in general, and its application to wind power in particular, should be sure to attend both events.

Managing Editor: Doug Drummond
Story Filed: 2/7/2011

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