Wind power breezes into Argonne’s operations

By Devin Hodge, Environmental Project Manager, FMS

The Argonne Sustainability Program is going to put the “Windy City’s” natural wind resource to the test – and I don’t mean the long-winded political rhetoric that Chicago’s nickname was originally coined from, either.

Wind energy is renewable, abundant and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, so it’s an attractive form of alternative energy. Harnessing wind resources isn’t as simple as picking a location and installing a wind turbine, though. Extensive data acquisition and complex modeling are necessary to position a wind turbine for maximum power production.

Argonne is gearing up for a wind power evaluation study with the goal of determining a location for a small-scale wind farm somewhere in the site’s eastern area. The Argonne Student Research Participation Program, run by the Division of Educational Programs (DEP), is working in conjunction with Facilities Management and Services (FMS) to train students from Illinois State University to collect data from several locations and heights on-site, using a Doppler radar system that will be correlated with available, long-term wind data from existing databases.

This wind study will aid Energy Systems Division (ES) and FMS personnel as they team up to install a small wind farm on-site by the end of the year. This project will demonstrate wind energy grid applications and provide for additional on-site renewable energy offsets. DOE sites are currently required to provide 7.5 percent of annual electricity consumption from renewable sources. Argonne is currently meeting renewable energy goals through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) until on-site sources are developed.

Keep your eyes open for more sustainable changes to Argonne’s skyline in the near future as collaborations between the laboratory’s divisions continue to lead to a greener future.

Posted May 24, 2011