The U.S. Department of Energy on Sept. 11 put out for comment, until Oct. 16, a final environmental assessment (EA) on a plan by Kansas State University (KSU) to build an educational wind facility at Manhattan, Kan.
KSU offers educational opportunities and conducts research in sustainable and renewable energy resources. Sustainability concepts for wind energy are incorporated into the KSU Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering curriculum. This department plans to use the Wind Application Center to instruct and train students in wind power physics and engineering, and to plan, install, operate, and maintain wind generation equipment.
Westar Energy, an electrical utility provider in Kansas, donated a Zond Z-50 model wind turbine to KSU to use for education and research. KSU pursued funding from DOE through the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office (WWPTO), which falls under DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, to refurbish, install, and operate the turbine.
The WWPTO works with universities to conduct research and development activities, and manages the public’s investment in wind technologies to improve the performance and lower the cost of wind power. Congress provided funding in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 to DOE for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including funds directed to KSU. KSU is proposing to use a portion of those funds for its Zond Wind Energy Project.
The Zond Z-50 is a 750-kW turbine with three blades. The tower is 164 feet (50 meters) tall and each blade is 82 feet (25 meters) long for a total turbine (blade) height of 246 feet (75 meters). For comparison, turbines on large-scale wind farms in Kansas are generally 1 to 2 MW in size, with towers (80 to 100 meters) and blades (40 to 45 meters), twice the size of this Zond turbine model.
The project site is on KSU property approximately three miles north of the College of Engineering building on the main campus in Manhattan, Kan. The Manhattan Regional Airport is located approximately eight miles to the southwest.