Our researchers focus on projects that advance the materials, performance, manufacturing, reliability, testing, modeling, system integration and monitoring of wind turbines. The Center for Renewable Energy is working on important research challenges to address the significant expansion of offshore wind energy deployment within the U.S.

UMass Lowell leads WindSTAR, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) which was established in 2014. WindSTAR is one of only 76 I/UCRCs funded by NSF, and the only one devoted to wind energy. Additionally, our researchers have secured significant funding from IACMI, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and industry collaborators to advance a wide range of wind energy projects.

Research Highlights

Wind Turbines in the ocean
  • The Development of an Acoustics-based Automated Offshore Wind Turbine Blade Structural Health Monitoring System project funded by DOE led by Murat Inalpolat will enable development of the world’s first real-time blade monitoring system for wind turbines.
  • There are currently 11 active research projects being completed through WindSTAR. These project focus on the variety of research areas including Composites and Blade Manufacturing, Foundations and Towers, Structural Health Monitoring, Wind Farm Modeling, Control Systems, Energy Storage and Grid Integration.
  • In the NOWDRC funded Novel Structural Health Monitoring System for Offshore Wind Turbine Blades project led by Murat Inalpolat. The team will be implementing a novel acoustics-based wind turbine blade monitoring system on an off-shore wind turbine off of the Virginia coast and report back on the findings.
    • WindSTAR, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) was established in 2014 and is one of only 76 I/UCRCs funded by NSF, and the only one devoted to wind energy.
    • The Structural Dynamics & Acoustic Systems Laboratory (SDASL) focuses on research related to analytical and experimental problems in the areas of structural and acoustic systems to develop, employ and improve techniques to solve these problems as they relate to wind energy capture and storage.
    • At the BUREK Lab (Building Resilience through Knowledge) led by Jasmina Burek, Ph.D., students work on interdisciplinary projects and apply engineering, life cycle assessment (LCA), and decision-making models to find solutions to climate change and environmental problems, including those related to wind energy.
    • The Fabric Discovery Center is one of our newest Core Research Facilities and is a dedicated space for design, prototyping, pilot manufacturing and testing of high-tech fabrics, flexible electronics and medical textiles.
    • The iComp2 Lab is developing an integrated platform to design and optimize advanced structures concurrently. Their work integrates computational and experimental mechanics to develop and validate multiscale process modeling techniques of thermoset, thermoplastic, and ceramic composites to advance technology from manufacturing to end-of-service life, improving the societal benefits of human-made products.
    • The New England Consortium provides high-quality worker health and safety and training for workforce development. TNEC has partnered with MassCEC to develop and offshore wind workforce training program.
    • The Advanced Composite Materials and Textile Research Laboratory (ACMTRL)  has the task of developing a better understanding of the design, analysis, and manufacture of high performance composite materials and textile structures.
    • The goal of the SENSORS (Structural Evaluation with Nondestructive, Smart, Optical, & Remote Sensing) Research Group, led by Alessandro Sabato, is to advance innovative sensing and data analytics to tackle built environment problems, specifically to address resilience, sustainability, and safety issues of engineering structures and infrastructure. The group combines technologies such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems, and Wireless Sensor Networks with non-contact measurement techniques and automated detection algorithms to solve real-world, engineering-related problems.
    • Amir Ameli - adhesives and adhesive/composite joints in wind turbines
    • Alireza Amirkhizi - structural modeling of composites and effects of new material selections in wind turbine blades
    • Peter Avitabile - structural dynamic characterization of wind turbine blades
    • Jasmina Burek - energy and process modeling, multi-objective optimization, life cycle assessment (LCA), techno-economic analysis (TEA), handprint assessment
    • David Claudio - service systems optimization, supply chain management, lean manufacturing, human factors integration, predictive modeling
    • Frank Colby - characterizing and modeling the detailed wind structure in the lowest 500 meters of the atmosphere
    • Patrick Drane - technical Program Management, composite materials, impact mechanics
    • Raj Gondle - monitoring and assessment of wind turbine foundation degradation, geomechanical challenges, high-precision tiltmeters, fault stability, underground engineering
    • Chris Hansen - additive manufacturing, composites, self-healing materials to extend wind turbine blade life, offshore wind workforce training, and 3D print design, modeling, materials, and methods
    • Murat Inalpolat - structural health monitoring, signal processing, acoustics, vibrations, dynamics, machine learning
    • Stephen Johnson - wind turbine engineering, wind turbine supply chain, wind blade manufacturing, composites recycling
    • Pradeep Kurup - subsurface exploration and site characterization for land-based and offshore wind, wind turbine foundations, minimally invasive structural health monitoring, geotechnical engineering
    • Fuqiang Liu - nanostructured materials, CFD simulation of energy conversion devices
    • Marianna Maiaru - advanced materials for wind energy structures, composites and additive manufacturing, computational mechanics, Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME), multi-scale analysis
    • Christopher Niezrecki - renewable energy systems and hydrogen integration, wind turbine dynamics, structural dynamic and acoustic systems, smart structures and materials, signal processing, optical sensing, structural health monitoring, non-destructive inspection
    • Jesus Reyes-Blanco - structural dynamics analysis and model validation of wind turbine structures
    • Alessandro Sabato - computer vision, non-contact sensing techniques, structural health monitoring
    • Scott Stapleton - composite manufacturing, composite simulation tools, lightweighting
    • David Turcotte - environmental and occupational health and safety education, economic and environmental impact assessment of materials and technologies
    • Siavash Pakdelian - electric machines and drives, power electronics, magnetic-mechanical energy harvesting
    • David Willis - fast computational methods for wind turbine aerodynamics, wind farm turbine-turbine interactions
    • Weile Yan - mineral recovery (rare-earth elements) from waste magnets used in wind turbines 

Wind Energy News