If you thought I was talking about Oklahoma, think again. In my last 3D Perspectives blog post, I wrote about Keokuk, Iowa leading the world in renewable hydroelectric power, way back in 1913. Today, according to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa ranks second in the United State in wind power installations (by megawatts). Go Cyclones! Iowa State University’s sports team’s name seems to be a good nickname for Iowa’s efforts to harness the wind for clean, renewable energy production – Cyclone Power!
While from a distance, windmills look elegantly simple, they really are complex-and extremely large-systems – consisting of the foundation, the tower, the blades, and the turbine (see animation at U.S. Department of Energy website). To meet the multidisciplinary design and engineering challenges, wind power manufacturers are leveraging Product Lifecycle Management solutions from Dassault Systèmes, including 3D design, composites modeling, manufacturing automation, finite element analysis, multiphysics simulation, design optimization, as well as process and data management. Check out the coverage on DS solutions for wind energy at Eureka Magazine.
The wind energy industry also has plans to accelerate innovation through cross-industry collaboration. Check out this announcement between Boeing and Vestas discussing the benefits their respective companies plan to achieve by sharing research on light-weight materials and aerodynamics. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both companies use PLM solutions from DS.
The wind energy industry is also leveraging the experience and infrastructure developed for offshore oil exploration. Research is underway in China to evaluate the viability of using abandoned offshore oil platforms as the foundation for wind power turbines, with the help of Abaqus FEA from SIMULIA.
If you’re not already benefiting from wind power, it seems you will be in the near future. In fact, with the steady wind blowing across the lake in my backyard, I am seriously considering building a small-scale windmill of my own. I guess that idea – should it become a reality – will really take me back to my ‘renewable energy’ Iowa roots.
What do you think of Wind Energy? Will it continue to grow or do you think the industry has reached a plateau?