Iowa Lakes Community College installs groundbreaking vertical ax - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Iowa Lakes Community College installs groundbreaking vertical axis wind turbine


Wind energy experts have been studying new ways to generate power for decades. And now, technology has caught up with their theories, making them a reality.

Wind is something Iowa Lakes Community College knows well. After two years of solid engineering, one of its partners has donated a game-changing turbine prototype to their school.

Because of Iowa Lakes Community College's partnership with a wind company, they now have a one-of-a-kind vertical-axis wind turbine on their campus.

"Iowa Lakes has the premiere wind program, not only locally, but throughout the country. We're really excited to be the first ones to have this in Iowa and to be the testing location for this," said Iowa Lakes Community College president, Valerie Newhouse.

Chava Wind installed the medium-scale turbine in December after picking out Iowa as the perfect location for their prototype.

"This is a great wind area that's why we're in Iowa I mean we looked at different sites in Texas and Kansas, Iowa beats them all. The annual sustained winds here are just awesome," said founder of Chava Wind, Hagen Ruff.

The company originally made the quieter, more aesthetically pleasing turbine for clients in Japan. But, after creating it, they realized its potential.

Experts say this vertical axis wind turbine right behind me would be a game changer, and it would not only benefit the students of Iowa Lakes, but the whole state of Iowa.

"The opportunity for us from a learning and potentially future work force development and training opportunity is huge," said Iowa Lakes Community College director of sustainable energy resources and technologies, Dan Lutat.

The turbine is in its final installation stages-- with Chava trimming and tuning the blades while the school develops its power curve. Over the next 6 months they will look at atmospheric data while teaching students about energy production and future marketing possibilities.

"This gives us another niche that we can make Iowa a leader in because that's really the future. We have to take a look at new ways of supporting communities especially in outlying areas. This influences every person living in Iowa that lives in a rural community," said Iowa Lakes Community College director of sustainable energy resources and technologies, Dan Lutat.

After further testing of the turbine's capabilities, Chava hopes to certify it and, some day, begin marketing it. Experts say the vertical axis wind turbine would be marketed toward smaller communities, individual farmers and businesses that want to be off the grid.

They say it's another opportunity to meet the needs of the industry.

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