First Wind Turbine Installed on Campus

Author: Alec Hipshear

The newest addition to the Notre Dame campus skyline, demonstrating the University's commitment to renewable energy, was mounted on the roof of the Notre Dame power plant last week.

The turbine, one of several renewable energy initiatives currently underway at Notre Dame, can generate up to 4 kilowatts of power and will feed directly into the campus electrical grid. Although its purpose is largely educational, its size, vertical axis design and highly visible location distinguish it from other campus renewable energy projects.

"Our intention was to use this project as a stepping stone to additional sustainability initiatives in on-campus energy," said Anthony Serianni, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and the coordinator for the College of Science Committee on Sustainability (COSCOS). "This turbine is small enough for residential use. The data that we collect from the campus turbine may help people in the community decide whether wind is an option for them."

Notre Dame's Institute for Flow Physics and Control is also working toward installing two horizontal axis wind turbines in White Field. With both turbine designs on campus, performance comparisons can be made between the two which could potentially facilitate research opportunities.

The installation is the result of a COSCOS project, began in 2009, and was made possible by generous institutional funding from the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), a significant personal contribution by Notre Dame alumnus John O'Connor and financial assistance from the College of Science.

The installation of the wind turbine and Notre Dame's partnership with NIPSCO comes as "part of a broader, more comprehensive plan to position the University and NIPSCO as innovators in the field of renewable energy, educators in the conservation effort and leaders in the realm of sustainability," said Rudy Reyes Jr., associate director of development in the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Ongoing renewable energy projects at Notre Dame include the solar arrays on the rooftop of Stinson-Remick Hall, installed in the summer of 2010. A second solar array is planned for the rooftop of Fitzpatrick-Cushing Hall of Engineering.