story to find out more.
Eighty feet above ARS's Bushland, Texas, research
station, quarterly service is performed on a wind turbine by ARS agricultural
engineer Byron Neal (right) and mechanical engineer Adam Holman of the
Alternative Energy Institute, West Texas A&M University. Click the
image for more information about it.
Agricultural Research Service Has Wind Power
By Don Comis
August 2, 2006
Texas has moved into first place in
the United States for wind power production, with help from the Agricultural
Research Service (ARS). The research
agency also has helped Minnesota become one of the top 10 wind-powered states
in the country.
Clark oversees the wind power research done by engineers in the ARS
Energy and Manure Management Research Unit at Bushland, Texas, while
Jaradat oversees wind research at the ARS
Central Soil Conservation Laboratory in Morris, Minn.
At Bushland, ARS scientists built a computer system that seamlessly links
wind power with a diesel generator and solar power. This hybrid system switches
as needed between power sources without interruption in providing electricity
to the power grid.
The Texas scientists are working with the
Alaska Energy Authority and the
Alaska Village Electric Cooperative to bring
this systemminus the solar powerto Arctic towns such as Selawik,
Kotzebue and Toksook. There are now about a dozen villages using the hybrid
system, and more on the way.
The Bushland unit operates larger, airplane-size, three-blade turbines for
wind-farm research for the U.S. Department of
Energy. They have also tested small wind turbines to power irrigation pumps
and water pumps in remote rangeland areas to provide water for livestock.
The Minnesota researchers are working with the
University of Minnesota to
power the Morris campus with wind-generated electricity. The Morris campus,
which already gets about 60 percent of its electricity from wind, hopes to
eventually "ship" enough excess electricity to the main university
campus at St. Paul to meet 20 percent of that campus energy needs.
There are also plans to eventually use wind power to generate hydrogen from
water to provide electricity for the two campuses.
Wagner, an ARS electrical engineer at Morris, and colleagues have created
wind maps that show many other areas in Minnesota suitable for farming the
more about the research in the August 2006 issue of Agricultural
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.