WindWind

MSU's wind research is focused on making wind power as efficient and affordable as possible. MSU research will help reduce the cost of owning and operating wind turbines, increase turbines' life-cycles, and serve as a model for working with local manufacturers to get wind sites up and running smoothly.

Right now, MSU engineers are studying the strength and durability of wind turbine blades, which can account for up to 30 percent of a wind system's initial cost. Other work focuses on turbine generator and power control systems. MSU-spurred advances in turbine design and materials will help reduce the cost of owning and operating wind turbines.

Other work at MSU has been focused on the manufacturing side of wind power. MSU works with local manufacturers to commercialize its research, making it possible for companies to build turbine components locally. This new manufacturing will produce technical jobs for the state for years to come.

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Researchers

Douglas Cairns

Doug Cairns is a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and studies composite materials used in primary structures. This research includes developing materials and manufacturing processes, as well as design, analysis and testing. He is currently working on manufacturing and testing new materials for wind turbine blade structures.

Dr. Cairns can be reached at 406-994-6050 or dcairns@montana.edu.

Website: www.coe.montana.edu/me/faculty/cairns/

Erick Johnson

Erick Johnson is an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and co-directs the Fluids & Computations Lab with Dr. Mark Owkes. His research focuses on using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and numerical methods to investigate the design of energy systems and to understand the environmental changes to sediment transport, sound propagation, and fish navigation that are caused by water energy systems. This work spans projects in efficiency gains for building energy systems, heat storage in packed beds, analysis of fish passageways, and wind and water turbine design.

Dr. Johnson can be reached at 406-994-6163 or erick.johnson@me.montana.edu.

Website: http://www.montana.edu/ejohnson/index.html

Robb Larson

Robb Larson is an associate professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. He is the director of the Wind Applications Center.

Prof. Larson can be reached at 406-994-6420 or robb.larson@montana.edu.

Website: http://www.montana.edu/rlarson/

David Miller

David Miller is a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. Dr. Miller’s energy research focus is on researching composite materials for the wind and marine hydrokinetic industries. His teaching emphasis is on solid mechanics and the senior Capstone course. Before joining MSU, Dr. Miller was a Team Leader and Technical Staff Member at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he performed mechanical testing of special nuclear materials in support of multiple programs.

Prof. Miller can be reached at 406-994-6285 or dmiller@me.montana.edu.

Website: http://www.montana.edu/dmiller/