No Speed Limit: Getting the Most from Industrial Scale Wind Turbines

Dr. Adel Merabet is working to develop high performance control systems that will help make wind turbines more efficient. (Photo Courtesy of Saint Mary's University)

Dr. Adel Merabet is working to develop high performance control systems that will help make wind turbines more efficient. (Photo Courtesy of Saint Mary’s University)

There’s nothing quixotic about Dr. Adel Merabet’s approach to wind turbines. In his efforts to make it easier to convert wind energy into electricity, the Saint Mary’s Engineering professor is tilting at some very real enemies, including climate change and the depletion of fossil fuels.

“The capacity of wind energy is related to the availability of wind and its speed,” says Dr. Merabet. “Designing an efficient control system will allow us to extract the maximum possible power at all possible wind speeds and transfer the technology to industrial scale wind turbines.”

In 2012, Dr. Merabet received a combined $173,226 in funding from Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust and Canada Foundation for Innovation. This funding led to the purchase of state-of-the-art research equipment to develop ways to control the speed and voltage of laboratory-scale, experimental wind turbines. In these projects, he is supported by graduate students in the MSc Applied Science program and undergraduates in the Diploma of Engineering program

Research in renewable energy is critical as Nova Scotia aims to have 25% renewable sources used in the production of electricity by 2015 and 40% by 2020. Dr. Merabet’s work will further the understanding of wind turbine potential and provide real-life opportunities for Saint Mary’s students to tackle one of society’s most powerful problems.

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