Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) Provides Modeling and Analysis Support for Development of INVELOX, A Wind-Generated Energy Technology Developed by SheerWind, Inc.
SheerWind, Inc., a Minnesota-based company, has been developing novel approaches for generating electric power from the wind. In the fall of 2011, SheerWind contracted MSI to do an independent study of their new INVELOX tower, which is designed to channel and focus wind kinetic energy. MSI generated high-resolution computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations for this analysis. To achieve sufficient accuracy these simulations were performed on high-resolution computational meshes. The simulations were performed using Itasca’s high-performance computing (HPC) resources. These models produced the detailed air flow and pressure information needed to assess the INVELOX tower’s ability to channel and focus wind power. This work lead to the development of custom software for generating the solid geometry of a wide class of structures, as well as assembling and tuning a suite of software tools for massively parallel CFD computations on MSI’s HPC resources. Potential uses for this suite of software on MSI’s HPC systems include parameter space searches for optimal wind tower design and, on a much large scale, modeling air flow over terrain for optimal siting of wind towers. The image above shows streamlines viewed from the top of an INVELOX tower.
MSI is an authorized External Sales Organization of the University of Minnesota, which allows it to sell services to parties outside the University, including access to its supercomputing facilities, technical consulting, and training. MSI is currently working with a number of different firms and looks to develop relationships with additional parties.