Researchers hope to improve wind farm efficiency

Feb 6, 2013


A group of University of Wyoming researchers received $508,000 from NASA to study aerodynamics and wind resistance at Wyoming’s Supercomputing Center.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that Wyoming has one of the highest capacities for wind power production in the country. But University of Wyoming Mathematics Professor Stefan Heinz says most wind farms aren’t arranged as efficiently as they could be. He says the wake of one turbine often disrupts the turbines around it, reducing efficiency.

Heinz says that, in theory, wind farm turbines could work together to increase energy production.

“If there would be no disturbing interaction between the turbines,” Heinz says, “it would be possible to increase efficiency of wind farms by 20% to 50%, which is a huge factor.”

The researchers will use the Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne to test their models.