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Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development
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Other Competitive Advantages of Universities

Iowa State University
The University of Iowa
University of Northern Iowa

Iowa State University

  • The Electric Power and Energy Systems Group (EPESG) works closely with industry through the Electric Power Research Center, Power Systems Research Center (http://ecpe.ece.iastate.edu/powerweb/pserc.htm), and Information Infrastructure Institute (Icube). In Iowa, the two major investor-owned utilities are expanding their ownership of wind turbines and EPESG is working closely with them, as well as other major industries. The group has unique strengths in applying high-performance supercomputing to carry out large-scale power simulations.
  • Working with faculty from the Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department will allow industrial partners the opportunity to work with state of the art equipment, state of the art manufacturing techniques, and high quality faculty and students. The cutting edge nature of the rapid prototyping techniques being developed would enable our partners to quickly evaluate part designs and establish their utility for a given application. Once prototypes are established, a partner could work with IMSE faculty to develop rapid manufacturing strategies to optimize the production system.
  • Mechanical Engineering has a strong research portfolio in energy systems, sustainable energy systems, and wind energy. Work has included residential grid-connected wind power systems, wind turbine model development, and turbine selection, design, and economic analysis. Through the department’s course in alternative energy conversion, students already develop experience with wind power generation including the theory, design, operating and performance characteristics of wind turbines, and the evaluation of wind power in the contexts of economics, environmental impact, and site.
    selection, and comparisons with other sustainable energy technologies.
  • Competitive advantages of composites research and education at Iowa State include pre-competitive research by world class faculty and students with state of the art facilities for manufacturing and characterization of composite material including facilities in the Polymer and Composites Research Group, Polymer Processing Lab, Materials Analysis and Research Laboratory, the Chemical Instrumentation Facility, and other ISU centralized facilities. Joint research activities are also underway with the Ames Laboratory (US Department of Energy), the Center for Non-destructive Evaluation, and the Microelectronics Research Center.

The University of Iowa

  • IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering IIHR) is one of the nation’s premier and oldest fluids research and engineering laboratories, and educates students and conducts research in the broad fields of hydraulics and fluid mechanics (annual budget of $13 million). IIHR is a large institute with 38 research engineers at the PhD level, about 10 postdoctoral scholars, and 110 MS and PhD graduate students. IIHR's 28 support staff include machine and electrical shop engineers, research computing support, and administrative staff. IIHR also utilizes nine facilities housing its state-of-the-art laboratories, hydraulic models, shops, boats, flow-testing facilities, and remote sensing equipment. Resources in each of these areas are vast. For example, remote sensing equipment includes a mobile X-band polarimetric radar network with four radars, mobile rainfall observatory, with a vertically pointing X-band radars, optical disdrometers, elastic lidar, wind-sounding lidar, and a LSPIV system.  Related to wind energy, IIHR has extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) capabilities for moving objects in its numerical code CFDShip-Iowa, developed over the past 20 years under sponsorship of the US Office of Naval Research. CFDShip-Iowa has been tested for naval applications, including ship resistance, propulsion, seakeeping and maneuvering, propeller computation, controllers, etc. Wind turbine modeling capabilities were recently developed and tested to evaluate and adapt CFDShip-Iowa to wind turbine flows. Currently the complete wind turbine (ground, tower, rotor, hub, nacelle) can be modeled with elastic rotating blades and variable pitch, enabling studies coupling control algorithims to the aerodynamics of the machine. CFDShip-Iowa also provides free-surface capabilities which allow the computation of wind turbines in floating structures for off-shore applications. Current work is oriented to coupling a dynamic structure code (LMS's Virtual.Lab) with CFDShip-Iowa to predict reliability and fatigue of gearboxes with fully coupled computation of the aerodynamics with the dynamics of the housing, shaft, bearings, and gearbox components.
  • Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD) is a Board of Regents-sponsored research unit in the College of Engineering with about thirty years of expertise in simulation as it pertains to mechanical system modeling and simulation, structural design optimization, human factors and ergonomics, digital human modeling and simulation supporting design for operability, maintainability, and serviceability, and virtual reality, among other areas. CCAD is a dynamic, multi-disciplinary, solutions-driven research environment comprising 39 University of Iowa faculty members from multiple academic departments, 40 professional staff members and 80-100 graduate and undergraduate engineering and computer science students in any given academic term. Since its inception in 1981, CCAD has achieved international recognition as a leader in simulation and in recent years in the field of digital human modeling and simulation. CCAD researchers have substantially advanced computational technologies and methodologies for dynamic systems and structural design applications, developing, deploying, and commercializing a number of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) capabilities that are in widespread use, including the Dynamic Analysis and Design System (DADS), Design Sensitivity Analysis and Optimization (DSO), Design Optimization for Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH), Reliability-Based Design Optimization (RBDO) and, most recently, the SANTOS™ Human Modeling and Simulation Environment. Technology transfer and spinning off companies has been a trademark of the Center’s accomplishments. As it pertains to wind energy, the Center is currently engaged in research to specifically apply RBDO tools and methodologies in the development of wind power systems sin support of the US Department of Energy strategic goal to produce 20% of United States electricity from wind power by 2030. The objective of this research program is to significantly increase turbine reliability to yield an efficient wind energy system design that can be uniformly relied on to demonstrate consistently high levels of performance under a wide range of operational conditions without being subject to unanticipated failure, with substantially reduced maintenance requirements, and that can be achieved without a significant increase in turbine component costs. Complementing the Center’s initiatives in wind power systems design, other CCAD researchers are pursuing efforts in the development of predictive capabilities for the management of electrical energy distribution from wind power systems, through the application of data mining, evolutionary computation, and systems engineering methodologies. With respect to design for operability, serviceability, and maintainability concerns, a major CCAD achievement has been the development of the SANTOS™ virtual human modeling and simulation environment. SANTOS represents the state-of-the-art in anthropomorphic modeling, simulation, and graphic representation, implementing realistic computer-generated human characters that can see, move, touch, grasp, and interact with virtual systems. SANTOS™ is the product of a large-scale collaborative effort involving anatomical human modeling, biomechanics, modeling of clothing, kinematics and human dynamics, muscle activation (electromyography), optimization, human performance measures, artificial intelligence and task planning, virtual environments, multi-body dynamics, motion capture, and real-time rendering and real-time visualization. A principal application of the SANTOS technology is the introduction of highly accurate human simulation early in system development, and well in advance of physical product construction, to optimize mechanical system design for ease of accessibility and maintenance, thereby yielding designs that are more easily serviced and for which system down-time and costs due to maintenance are substantially reduced.
  • The Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research (CGRER) at The University of Iowa is the result of a group of scientists with interests in the areas of global change and environmental sciences getting together in the Fall of 1988 to discuss the implications of global change. The State Board of Regents established CGRER in 1990. The Center receives funding from a public utility trust fund, as mandated by the State of Iowa’s 1990 Energy Efficiency Act. The Center promotes interdisciplinary research on the many aspects of global environmental change. Areas of focus include regional effects on natural ecosystems, environments, and resources, and effects on human health, culture, and social systems. To accomplish its missions, CGRER awards seed grants, fosters interdisciplinary courses, provides state-of-the-art research facilities, and holds seminars and symposia.Through these activities, CGRER assists Iowa’s agencies, industries, politicians, and citizens as they prepare for accelerated environmental change.The Center holds 72 members in universities and institutions across the country. At the University of Iowa, CGRER stresses interdisciplinary involvement with members in 17 different departments. UI professors Jerry Schnoor and Greg Carmichael co-founded and co-direct the Center.
  • Industry University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) have a successful record in nurturing cooperative research under various models. One example is the NSF funded program on photopolymerization. The mission of the IUCRC in Photopolymerization is to advance research through the unique opportunity for active collaborations among industrial and academic investigators who are exploring cutting-edge research and are developing novel applications based upon the unique set of advantages offered by this technology. The objectives of the IUCRC center are (1) to advance the fundamental understanding of fundamental and applied science key to the focus; (2) to establish a venue for active discussions and collaborations among industrial and academic researchers; (3) to explore high-risk, cutting-edge research that could lead to technological innovations; and (4) to promote and/or develop novel applications that exploit the unique set of advantages. This technology itself has important wind-related applications in manufacturing and performance, and also serves as an important model of corporate/university cooperation.

University of Northern Iowa

  • Computer Science Department has significant experience working collaboratively on projects with local industry partners, in particular John Deere and Rockwell Collins. Computer Science faculty were also active participants in the recent round of state funding for commercializable research, with funded projects in bioinformatics and cluster computing. These grants involved industrial partners as well as interactions with researchers at other Regents Universities.
  • Industrial Technology Department, where student-based projects (including the Solar Electric Boat R&D Center) have allowed for strong relationships with both GMT Corporation and TDS Automation in Waverly, Iowa. GMT Corporation provides machining and fabrication services including designing and building various gear boxes. TDS Automation designs, manufactures and integrates custom automation systems and highly specialized machinery for unique process applications a product manufacturing. GMT and TDS have both hired a number of graduates for their manufacturing facility.
  • Center for Advanced of Biobased Binders (CABB) is housed in the UNI Metal Casting Center. This nationally-unique project focuses on replacing traditional petroleum-based adhesive (“binder”) systems with environmentally-friendly materials. Made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, CABB research has produced several promising new adhesive systems. Faculty, staff and students involved with CABB would be able to readily contribute towards the development of bio-renewable polymers.
  • Center for Energy and Environmental Education was established for the purpose of promoting greater understanding and awareness about issues related to energy and the environment. Projects focus on energy use, land use and agriculture, and material flows (wastes, recycling, etc.), utilizing the CEEE’s network of research and outreach collaborators to achieve the Center’s mission. The CEEE staffs full-time energy and environmental educators, who focus on educating the public about global environmental strategies.
  • National Ag-Based Lubricants (NABL) Center, with more than 16 years of R&D experience, is credited with the development of over 30 biobased lubricant products. At the request of an industry client, NABL researchers have also conducted extensive comparative testing between traditional and environmentally-friendly gear oils for wind turbine gearboxes.
  • Strategic Marketing Services (SMS) specializes in business-to-business marketing research and is adept at contributing meaningfully to an organization’s full range of marketing decisions.
    Especially relevant is SMS’s ability to support a company’s strategic opportunity assessments, including market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification. Doing business since 1990, SMS counts seven Fortune 500 companies among its aggregate client list, which includes over 250 U.S. organizations spread across numerous vertical markets (manufacturing, utility, high technology, government, etc.).