This year, Purdue Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS) received a federal grant of $749,853 tosupport the project Mixed Reality Simulators for Wind Energy Education.
According to the press release, this project involves developing five wind simulators to train university students and professionals about wind energy.
CIVS combines advanced simulation techniques and three-dimensional visualization with virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to address industrial- and environmental-related challenges, according to a press release.
“Mixed reality refers to a combination of computer-generated and real-world elements,” Moreland said. “The simulators will be a combination of hardware and software that allow students to learn and practice on various wind energy systems to enhance real world experience.”
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Purdue Calumet a grant after a proposal was submitted during the summer and accepted earlier this semester.
“They have a program called the Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education,” CIVS Senior Research Scientist John Moreland said.
Moreland said the grant came about due to a report the U.S. Department of Energy published entitled “20 percent Wind Energy by 2030,” but to meet this goal, colleges need to teach more wind energy programs.
According to the report, “Major expansion of wind power in the United States would require substantial numbers of skilled personnel available to design, build, operate, maintain, and advance wind power equipment and technology.”
“Some of the materials will be integrated into Purdue Calumet courses and the technology being developed for the wind energy simulators has potential to be modified and applied to many other disciplines and could enhance existing instruction techniques.”
Chenn Zhou, head of the department of mechanical engineering, and CIVS and Project Director, said the simulators will be available for use by universities, community colleges and industries for “training a critically needed workforce, as well as promoting awareness of green energy,” according to a press release.
The project and the grant will be implemented in January.
“It’s really exciting that the Department of Education is investing in a project like this,” Moreland said. “Not only does the project provide a potential solution for training and educating wind energy professionals, but it serves as a test bed for mixed reality as an educational tool and opens the possibility of using the same technology across multiple disciplines.”