Andlinger Innovation Funds Awarded to Faculty

Posted on July 10, 2012 by Brenda Mikeo

The Andlinger Center has awarded funding for two collaborative faculty research projects through the Andlinger Innovation Fund. Each team will receive up to $100,000 in seed funding for an innovative research project beginning fall 2012. The two winning projects are investigating wind energy and related environmental issues. An interdisciplinary faculty committee selected the proposals from a competitive field of applicants. In 2011, four projects were funded.

Funding for these projects is made possible through a gift from Gerhard R. Andlinger ’52, intended to support faculty research in new topics and encourage collaboration among Princeton scientists, engineers, and industry.


Luigi Martinelli

Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Alexander J. Smits

Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Elie Bou-Zeid

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Title: Development of Optimal Aerodynamic Shapes for Stall Delay and Mitigation in Wind Turbine Applications

Abstract: Delaying stall of aerodynamic surfaces is paramount to improving the efficiency and performance of advanced wind turbines. There exists ample experimental evidence that stall can be delayed or mitigated by careful shaping of the aerodynamic surfaces, and examples include vortex generators, trailing edge gurneys flaps, and more recently leading edge tubercles or Bumpy Leading Edge Foils (BLEF). Equally true is that the flow physics of the near-stall regime is poorly understood, and the design of lift enhancement devices is carried out via an expensive trial and error process in which the misses outnumber the successes. It has become clear that efficiency improvements can only be achieved with the development and deployment of more advanced design techniques. We are proposing to use a three step approach by first using advanced RANS based CFD codes and adjoint based shape optimization approaches to determine the design of an optimal configuration, then using laboratory experiments to verify the blade performance in steady and unsteady flow, and finally retro-fitting the final design on an existing 500W wind turbine for field trials in the atmospheric boundary layer. We estimate that it will be possible to improve by 8-10% the aerodynamic efficiency of the blades, which will have a significant effect on our ability to harvest wind and tidal energy.


Denise L. Mauzerall

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School

Eric D. Larson

Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute

Title: Air Quality and Climate Benefits of Current and Potential Future Wind Energy Penetration in China

Abstract: Total energy demand in China is projected to double over the next 40 years with demand for electricity outpacing demand for total energy. In 2009, China set a target of 15% contribution of non-fossil fuel sources to total energy by 2020. Wind power is expected to be an important component of that. However, the potential for on-shore wind-generated electricity in China has been projected to be enormous — more than twice the electricity demand projected for 2030. The purpose of this project is to initiate an evaluation of the benefits to air quality, in addition to the benefits for climate, of a rapid expansion of wind power that displaces highly polluting coal generated electricity in China. China suffers from extremely poor air quality, with associated adverse implications for public health. Identifying co-benefits of wind power for air quality and public health may increase motivation for rapid expansion of wind power. We propose a quantitative model-based evaluation of the benefits to air quality of wind power expansion in China. The research will be conducted in collaboration with Chinese colleagues and will involve Chinese doctoral students based at Princeton.