August 22, 2011

City Approves Plan for Campus Wind Turbine

Fort Wayne, Ind.—Indiana Tech has received approval from the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals to install a wind turbine on the Fort Wayne campus.

The wind turbine tower will be 120 feet tall, and the blade will have a diameter of 26.5 feet making the total height about 134 feet. A turbine of that size is expected to generate between 700 and 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, which is about the amount of energy used by the average household in the United States, said John Renie, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Indiana Tech offers a bachelor’s degree in energy engineering, and the wind turbine on campus will allow firsthand study of wind power. The operation of the turbine also will have applications in the mechanical engineering and electrical engineering programs.

The equipment for the wind turbine has been ordered, and the university hopes to have it installed prior to the spring semester. A 2010 gift from the Steel Dynamics Foundation will cover the $110,000 cost of the equipment, installation and software for the wind turbine.

“This is the next step in our study of renewable energy sources,” said Dave Aschliman, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences. “Our students are already involved with solar energy through solar powered water heaters in our lab and geothermal energy through the systems installed on campus in 2010.”

The wind turbine will be located on Maumee Avenue, next to the Zollner Engineering Center. During public meetings on the zoning issue, one neighbor had a concern about the possible noise of the turbine, Renie said. “For the size and height of this turbine, noise would be minimal – no louder than the outdoor air conditioning units next to the existing Indiana Tech buildings,” he explained.

The power produced by the wind turbine will flow back to the power grid because the university does not have any storage capacity, Renie said, and it will be credited to Indiana Tech’s electric bill.


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    Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Sciences
    800.937.2448, ext. 2102
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