Engineer Receives Grant To Improve Wind Farm Efficiency

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Andrew Kusiak, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, has received a one-year, $110,000 grant from the Iowa Energy Center to develop computer software designed to increase the efficiency of wind farms.

The project goal is to develop software to help engineers predict wind farm performance, including the amount of energy produced for various intervals of time ranging from 15 minutes to one day or more. As a part of his research, Kusiak plans to collect and analyze data from the MidAmerican Energy Century Wind Farm, located in Wright and Hamilton counties in north central Iowa. Kusiak plans to employ a technique called "data-mining" -- the use of computational mathematics to devise new tools for analyzing data -- to combine wind data measured at individual turbines and towers in developing his software.

"Such software will transform a wind farm into a wind power plant," he says.

Located in Ames, Iowa, the Iowa Energy Center is administered by Iowa State University and is funded by an annual assessment levied on the gross intrastate revenues of all gas and electric utilities in Iowa.

Kusiak, who came to the University of Iowa in 1988 and holds a primary appointment in the UI College of Engineering and a secondary appointment in the UI College of Nursing, has research interests that include data mining and knowledge discovery, computational intelligence, and medical informatics and technology.