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Wind turbine could lead to energy breakthroughs

January 17, 2013

Wayne State University Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology and Electric-Drive Vehicle Engineering Caisheng Wang is captivated by energy, which his research aims to acquire and store in clean, sustainable ways. 

Wang’s team recently developed a small microgrid to address the need for improved charging and power management strategies. The wind turbine currently sits atop WSU’s Engineering Technology Building.

“Energy acquired by the turbine, combined with energy from parallel solar panels, charges a battery pack that is then converted into AC to power a computer lab. If voltage drops to a certain level, we switch back to the grid so as not to hurt the battery,” says Wang. “The model is to always use renewable energy first. It’s been a very reliable power source thus far.”

The project supports Wang’s overall strategy to use smaller, more sustainable generation sources to maintain power during outages.

“There are still cost and stability issues to address, but I am confident that it will eventually make sense to go with renewables. I hope that with smart-grid technology we will see a more reliable system with communication capability, real-time measurement, control strategy and more storage devices,” he says.


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