The University of Minnesota will "flip the switch" on a new experimental 2.5 megawatt wind turbine.
The windmill will be commissioned in a public display, along with educational exhibits, Tuesday at U-More Park in Rosemount, Minn.
Not only will the windmill produce electricity for the grid, it will provide an industrial-scale testing ground for new technologies, according to Fotis Sotiropoulos, who leads a consortium of researchers and industry partners cooperating on the project.
"Testing new research ideas, new technological innovations and demonstrating their efficacy at full scale," Sotiropoulos said. "For that, the turbine is equipped with state of the art sensors, to measure forces that are acting on the blades.
Sotiropoulos said it's important to be able to test new ideas at full scale. One of the innovations the windmill will test is a thin film produced by 3M that adds tiny ribs to the windmill blades.
"This film has the ability to change the flow of the air very close to the turbine blades, reduce the resistance that the turbines experience as part of the air flow, and increase the performance," Sotiropoulos said.
The tower is also equipped with weather equipment that lets researchers observe how the windmill reacts to turbulence.