Department of Physics

Department News

Dean of College of Engineering, Univ. of Iowa to speak on Wind Energy in the USA on Friday, April 2, 2010.

Apr 1, 2010

Wind Energy in the USA - Past, Present and Future

Speaker: Professor P. Barry Butler
Date: April 02, 2010 (Friday)
Time: 4 p.m.
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Abstract
A utility-scale wind turbine is a complex mechanical/electrical system designed to extract energy from a widely variable source (i.e., wind), and ultimately deliver clean, well-characterized power to the utility grid. Optimizing the system requires experts from a number of unrelated fields (atmospheric modeling, aerodynamics, power management, conversion and storage, etc.). Technology innovations and market building incentives have helped to dramatically lower costs of wind energy over the past two decades. However, to achieve the Department of Energy's goal of producing 20% of the nation's electricity through wind power by 2030, two major challenges will be i) reducing the capital cost of large turbines, and ii) significantly increasing turbine reliability. To make wind energy more competitive, the industry needs wind energy system designs 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 and with substantially reduced maintenance requirements. This talk will explore present and future technology trends in wind energy production in the USA.

About the speaker:
Professor P. Barry Butler is the Dean of College of Engineering and a Professor in mechanical and industrial engineering at the University of Iowa. He is an expert in thermophysics of condensed-phase energetic materials, multiphase reactive flow, shock physics and thermodynamics of reactive processes. Professor Butler's current research interests are in the areas of ignition phenomena in energetic materials, real-gas thermochemical processes, reaction in supercritical water medium, and detonation of gas and condensed-phase media.