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Boosting the Flow of Wind Energy

October 2, 2012

Wind power can be erratic, but researchers will address this problem by tying models of wind farm power output to power grid stability, grid management and energy markets.

Johns Hopkins researchers have received two grants worth $6 million from the National Science Foundation to lead multi-institution teams in devising better ways to design and manage power from wind and other renewable energy sources.

“Wind power is one of the most cost-effective ways to produce electricity that doesn’t require nonrenewable, polluting fuels like oil and coal,” says Charles Meneveau, a mechanical engineering professor and lead researcher on the first grant. “Using advanced computer simulation tools, we plan to develop more efficient wind farm designs and better methods of moving clean, renewable power into a community’s power grid.”

The awards, received in October 2012, are the first major initiative under the newly established Johns Hopkins Environment, Energy, Sustainability and Health Institute (E2SHI), launched to promote interdisciplinary research into how people affect the global environment.

A $4.3 million grant supports a team of 20 researchers in the United States and Europe who are investigating the interplay between wind, weather conditions and wind farm output. They also will look wind turbine spacing, building on the earlier work of Meneveau, who in 2011 published work that outlined a new formula for optimal wind turbine spacing.

A second $1.7 million grant focuses developing methods to improve the way a power grid responds to the intermittent flow of energy produced by wind and solar cells. Dennice Gayme, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering is, lead investigator on this award.

Benjamin Hobbs, a professor of geography and environmental engineering, heads E2SHI. Hobbs, at right, is pictured with Meneveau, left, and Gayme, center. Together, they will lead the new research effort. Other Whiting School reseachers include Rajat Mittal, Seth Guikema and Catherine Norman.


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