Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain…

By Tim
Farming The Wind in Iowa

Harvesting the Iowa Wind

If you thought I was talking about Oklahoma, think again. In my last 3D Perspectives blog post, I wrote about Keokuk, Iowa leading the world in renewable hydroelectric power, way back in 1913. Today, according to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa ranks second in the United State in wind power installations (by megawatts). Go Cyclones! Iowa State University’s sports team’s name seems to be a good nickname for Iowa’s efforts to harness the wind for clean, renewable energy production – Cyclone Power!

While from a distance, windmills look elegantly simple, they really are complex-and extremely large-systems – consisting of the foundation, the tower, the blades, and the turbine (see animation at U.S. Department of Energy website). To meet the multidisciplinary design and engineering challenges, wind power manufacturers are leveraging Product Lifecycle Management solutions from Dassault Systèmes, including 3D design, composites modeling, manufacturing automation, finite element analysis, multiphysics simulation, design optimization, as well as process and data management. Check out the coverage on DS solutions for wind energy at Eureka Magazine.

The wind energy industry also has plans to accelerate innovation through cross-industry collaboration. Check out this announcement between Boeing and Vestas discussing the benefits their respective companies plan to achieve by sharing research on light-weight materials and aerodynamics.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both companies use PLM solutions from DS.

China research on using offshore platforms

China prototype using offshore platforms

The wind energy industry is also leveraging the experience and infrastructure developed for offshore oil exploration. Research is underway in China to evaluate the viability of using abandoned offshore oil platforms as the foundation for wind power turbines, with the help of Abaqus FEA from SIMULIA.

If you’re not already benefiting from wind power, it seems you will be in the near future. In fact, with the steady wind blowing across the lake in my backyard, I am seriously considering building a small-scale windmill of my own. I guess that idea – should it become a reality – will really take me back to my ‘renewable energy’ Iowa roots.

What do you think of Wind Energy? Will it continue to grow or do you think the industry has reached a plateau?

Go Cyclones!


Related post:

20% Wind Power by 2020

What About a Spaceship-Submarine?

By Kate


George Jetson flies a family car.  Every morning he dispatches his family to their various destinations, and once at work, George neatly folds the family transport vehicle into a briefcase.

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Is this where our transportation innovations are taking us?

You may have heard of the car that flies, Terafugia.

Or what about the car that scuba dives, sQuba.

And just the other day someone sent me an article about a dune-buggy/paraglider called SkyCar.

I wanna know.  Is this just marketing buzz, or do these examples represent real, viable transportation solutions?

Ooops!  I forgot Richard Branson’s Necker Nymph!

On paper these eclectic transport concepts look legit.  So legit that right now you can, for example, put down a refundable deposit for SkyCar (delivery promised end of 2010).

So I’m calling all aviators, divers, gliders, drivers and engineers, and hey, why not Richard Branson, to help me understand:

A)    Are these George Jetsony concepts safe?
B)    Will regular folks (not just James Bond fanatics) really buy and use them?
C)    What’s next in the world of unexpected transportation solutions?



CATIA Fans May Like This

By Kate

Whether you run on Mac or Windows, if you like CATIA, 3D CAD softwares or 3D design in general, you may enjoy downloading the new CATIA screensaver.

I downloaded it and am enjoying seeing the beautiful 3D designs rotate on my screen.  Plus it’s a different way to access the Dassault Systèmes RSS news feed.

Here’s a video glimpse as to what you’ll get.  You’ll see an assortment of design objects from the inside and out.

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Simply follow the link, select Mac or Windows, and then enter your email address and prove you’re not a bot.  Happy downloading!



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Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.