FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Illinois Institute of Technology Wind Turbine Project
What is the purpose of this project?
To search for
solutions that could ultimately result in the use of wind power as a clean and
reliable source of renewable energy in the metropolitan Chicago area.
Why is this important?
Wind power has been
an underutilized energy resource in the Midwest because costs were prohibitive.
While wind power will never generate 100 percent of the electricity consumed in
the United States, it has the potential to reduce our dependence on much more
polluting forms of energy. Wind turbines have the potential to create clean and
reliable sources of energy on both a large and local scale.
How was the
of Technology assembled an interprofessional team of 10 students from a variety
of disciplines -- business, engineering, architecture, and computer
science. The project is overseen by
Professor George P. Nassos, director of Stuart Graduate School of Business’
Center for Sustainable Enterprise and the M.S. in Environmental Management
Dr. Said Al-Hallaj,
Associate Research Professor, IIT
Poullian, President, TurbodynamX, Inc.
What was the team’s goal?
To examine business, logistical and environmental issues
related to the installation of a small wind turbine in Chicago, and to conduct
research on the validation of the wind turbine’s performance.
How was the team organized?
The students in the
wind turbine project were divided into two groups. One group worked on
technical and data analysis aspects of the project while the other group looked
at legal and economic issues.
gathered data on wind output at various locations in metropolitan Chicago,
evaluated the data to predict potential energy output of the wind turbine,
reviewed legal aspects regarding the installation of a wind turbine at selected
sites, and researched potential markets suitable for small-scale wind turbine
Who is sponsoring
The wind turbine
project is sponsored by TurbodynamX, Inc., a Chicago-based company that owns
the U.S. license of the technology developed by Compagnie Internationale de
Turbines Atmospheriques (CITA). IIT purchased the 12-kilowatt prototype unit
from TurbodynamX. (See attached for specifications.)
Support for the
purchase, installation and operation of the wind turbine is provided by the
City of Chicago Department of Environment, Exelon Corporation, Illinois
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Clean Energy
Community Foundation, and Meade Electric.
Why was the Field
Museum site selected?
The Field Museum
site provides the opportunity to demonstrate effectively the feasibility of
this particular turbine and energy source as a clean and renewable source of
energy. It provides an ideal urban setting and an opportunity for many Chicago
area citizens to observe this new technology.
How does wind
energy compare to solar energy and other forms on an economic basis?
Wind energy is an
economy of scale; a large utility scale wind turbine can cost less than
$1000/kW and small wind turbines cost around $3000 - $4000/kW. However, the average citizen interested in
clean, renewable energy cannot acquire the millions of dollars needed to by a
utility scale wind turbine. Small wind
power, on the other hand, is accessible by the individual. Small wind power typically costs $20/kW a year
to operate and maintain
power in not an economy of scale; a large solar plant is only moderately
cheaper on a per kW basis than a small solar power system for a home. The typical cost of a solar panel is around
$5000/kWp with an annual operations and maintenance cost of $10/kWp.
How does this
technology compare with other wind turbines?
This wind turbine is designed with a fairing around the edge of the
rotor blades. This fairing improves the
flow of the air past the rotor blades resulting in 45% more electricity
generated for a given diameter, or swept area.
This design also eliminates most of the noise typically associated with
wind turbines. The fairing makes the
turbine more visible to birds and reduces significantly the potential of birds
flying into the blades. This will be the first one of its kind
operational anywhere in the world.
How much will a
commercial 12 kW unit made by TurbodynamX, Inc. cost?
installed cost of a 12 kW wind turbine by TurbodynamX will cost about $60,000
installed. However, this unit would be
eligible for a $24,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity and a $6,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy
Community Foundation, reducing the cost to $30,000. ComEd has a provision that will purchase back energy generated by
the wind turbine that is not utilized by owner of the wind turbine.
Who will use the
electricity generated by this prototype unit?
The electricity generated by the prototype will be fed into
the Field Museum. There, a majority of
the energy will be used directly, but any energy that exceeds the demand of the
Field Museum will make its way into the Chicago power grid.
Is Chicago, in
general, and the lakefront, in particular, a good source of wind energy?
The Chicago lakefront provides the highest annual wind
speeds of any region in the Chicago area.
Overall the wind resource in Chicago is moderate: it is better than the
resource found in many states, but not as good as states such as California,
Texas, and the Dakotas.
purchase a 12 kW wind turbine in the Midwest?
Currently the market for small wind power is concentrated on
homes that do not have access to grid power, individuals and small communities
that feel strongly about supporting renewable energy, and government and
educational organizations that showcase renewable energy.
A relatively new market that has emerged is that of small
businesses whishing to reduce their electricity bills by generating their own
electricity with wind power.
When will the
wind turbine be ready for installation?
The wind turbine is
scheduled to be unveiled on June 20, 2003.
George P. Nassos,
Director - Environmental Management Program
IIT Stuart Graduate School of Business
565 W. Adams Street
Chicago, IL 60661-3691