Building Promise
Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development
IAWind.org IAWind.org

Cross-cutting Capabilities

Iowa State University
The University of Iowa
Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research
Iowa Energy Center

Iowa State University

  • CIRAS (Center for Industrial Research & Service) serves Iowa’s manufacturing companies, from OEMs to job shops, representing the primary drivers of the Iowa economy. The manufacturing sector contributed 21.0% of Iowa’s total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006, placing Iowa second among the states in the percentage of total GDP from manufacturing. Three industry sub-sectors that are important to the wind industry, machinery, fabricated metal products, and electrical equipment/appliances, are three of the top five manufacturing sub-sectors in Iowa. Iowa State University has a long tradition of connecting industry with university researchers to improve the US economy. In 1904, ISU developed the nation’s premier Engineering Experiment Station – the first research agency organized in an engineering school. The purpose of the experiment station was to support faculty research in the emerging areas of science and technology, and then transfer the results to the state’s industries. The ISU College of Engineering also established the Engineering Extension Service in 1913 to help in the transfer of technology from the experiment station. Today, CIRAS is charged with fulfilling the original charge to the Engineering Extension Service - to enhance the performance of industry through research, education, and technical assistance. Account Managers throughout the state meet with clients to assess needs and provide links to resources that companies can use to increase their competitiveness. Solutions are offered through a combination of direct assistance from center staff, university faculty, partner organizations, and outside consultants. CIRAS staff has expertise in biorenewables, engineering, government procurement, management practices, productivity, and quality systems. Center activities are supported in part by the Department of Commerce/NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Department of Defense/DLA Procurement Technical Assistance Program, the Department of Commerce/EDA University Center Program, and the Department of Agriculture BioPreferred program. Iowa State University is one of a handful of research universities in the US that have a center that manages such a wide variety of industry assistance programs and with a mission to improve the profitability of industry. Last year 577 companies in Iowa reported $122 million in new investments, $7 million in costs saved or avoided, $62 million in sales gained or retained, and 1,658 jobs added or retained as a result of the research, technical assistance, and education they received from CIRAS and its partners.
  • The Iowa Energy Center, created by Iowa’s General Assembly in 1990, conducts and sponsors research, demonstration and education in energy efficiency and renewable energy. With funding from a surcharge on intra-state sales of electricity and natural gas, the Energy Center is administered by Iowa State University, but authorized to work through competitive awards with all of Iowa’s educational institutions and private non-profits. Over the years, a number of Energy Center projects have involved collaborations of eligible grantees, typically university faculty, working with industry on collaborative projects. Energy Center funded projects that may be of specific interest include:
    Wind Assessment and Calculator – The Energy Center funded 6 years of field data collection on the wind resource in Iowa. That assessment is captured on the Energy Center’s Web site as annual and monthly maps and a calculator that can give a first cut estimate of the output of many commercially available wind turbines at over 2000 locations around the state. The Energy Center also has provided its raw data to numerous wind developers working in Iowa.
  • Tall Towers Project – In conjunction with co-funding provided by the US Department of Energy through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Energy and Waste Management Bureau (http://www.iowadnr.gov/waste/index.html), the Energy Center is now in the field data collection stage of an update to the wind assessment. This project, working with AWS Truewind, involves installing data collection instruments on towers at four dispersed locations in the state to a height of 250 m above the ground. When data collection is completed, the Energy Center’s on-line maps will be revised and extended. Data mining techniques to optimization of wind farm operation in partnership with MidAmerican Energy, who is providing data from one of their wind farms for the research. The Energy Center operates the Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program, created by Iowa’s
    General Assembly in 1996 to provide reduced interest rate loans for the construction of renewable energy projects, including wind turbines, in Iowa.
  • Ames Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated research facility of the U.S. Department of Energy that is run by Iowa State University. For more than 60 years, the Ames Laboratory has sought solutions to energy-related problems through the exploration of chemical, engineering, materials, mathematical and physical sciences. Established in the 1940s with the successful development of the most efficient process to produce high-purity uranium metal for atomic energy, the Lab now pursues a broad range of scientific priorities.

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.
  • 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.

Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research

  • 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.

Iowa Energy Center

  • The Iowa Energy Center, created by Iowa’s General Assembly in 1990, conducts and sponsors research, demonstration and education in energy efficiency and renewable energy. With funding from a surcharge on intra-state sales of electricity and natural gas, the Energy Center is administered by Iowa State University, but authorized to work through competitive awards with all of Iowa’s educational institutions and private non-profits. Over the years, a number of Energy Center projects have involved collaborations of eligible grantees, typically university faculty, working with industry on collaborative projects. Energy Center funded projects that may be of specific interest include:
    Wind Assessment and Calculator – The Energy Center funded 6 years of field data collection on the wind resource in Iowa. That assessment is captured on the Energy Center’s Web site as annual and monthly maps and a calculator that can give a first cut estimate of the output of many commercially available wind turbines at over 2000 locations around the state. The Energy Center also has provided its raw data to numerous wind developers working in Iowa.