Testing center opens for turbines of all sizes

West Texas A&M University and UL have opened a turbine testing facility on 480 acres in Canyon, Texas. The Advanced Outdoor Wind Test Facility will provide services for manufacturers of large, small, and micro-scale wind turbines, as well as research and design testing.

Turbines will soon replace the crane along the skyline of Canyon, Texas.

The facility lies in the middle of the Great Plains Wind Corridor, where favorable wind blows all year. The good conditions will help companies receive quick turnaround on tests. The facility can accommodate temporary and long-term installations, a benefit to manufacturers whether testing blades, generators, inverters, software, or some combination.

The facility is staffed full-time by engineers, technicians, and a machinist, and has the equipment necessary to install small and medium-sized turbines, including foundations. The site features an indoor space for instrumentation and troubleshooting. A data acquisition system will provide customers real-time data for their turbine, accessible by a website.

The facility is capable of testing for various standards, including UL 6141 and 6142, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) certification, and Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) certification.

The facility will use an array of sensors to tell wind speed, wind direction, temperature, output voltage, current, and power, as well as acoustic measurements. UL commissioned the first turbine for tests in December 2013, and more manufacturers are in the pipeline.

UL and West Texas A&M University will partner at that facility with the DEWI Group. DEWI was acquired by UL in 2012. DEWI-OCC is a generally accepted certification body for land-based and offshore wind turbines and their components.

The benefits of the test site will extend to the university where it’s located. “WTAMU will become a green campus as we produce power from the wind turbines we test,” says laboratory director Adam J. Holman. WPE

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