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A crowd gathered Tuesday to watch as the University of Minnesota turned on the new wind turbine on its UMore Park property.

A few facts about the new turbine at UMore Park

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The University of Minnesota turned on its new research wind turbine Tuesday with a ceremony at the UMore Park site. Hundreds of people turned out for the event.

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The Eolos Wind Energy Research Consortium is an industry-academic consortium led by project director Fotis Sotiropoulos. Consortium partners including the University of Minnesota will conduct research at the site that they hope will lead to advances in wind energy.

"We are always trying to research on the cutting edge of societal needs," said Sotiropoulos.

The consortium includes a wide variety of partners including 3M, Dakota County Technical College, Clipper Windpower, Lockheed Martin, Xcel Energy, Eaton Cooperation, Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, Barr Engineering and more.

Here we share some fun facts about the new University of Minnesota Wind Turbine.

• Each blade is about the size of a 747 airplane.

• The blades are made out of a composite material that includes fiberglass and balsam wood.

• The blades are very elastic so they don't break.

• The turbine has a system that automatically shuts down the turbine when wind speeds are too high.

• There are more than 300 sensors associated with the turbine to record information.

• The Clipper Liberty turbine is 415 feet from the ground to the tip of the top blade.

• A 426-foot meteorological station located south of the turbine will measure weather conditions and wind speed.

• It took nearly a week to build the crane that put the turbine together.

• It took 17 semi-trucks to deliver all the components of the turbine and meteorological tower.

• The base of the turbine includes more than 450 cubic feet of concrete.

• The turbine is one of only three built specifically for research purposes. Research done will include capturing more energy from the wind, improving wind farm design, minimizing the turbine's impact on radar, reducing nose, preventing ice buildup on the blades, monitoring turbine performance and improving turbine blade structure.

• The turbine also will be used for education purposes. The consortium will develop new wind energy curricula to train industry professionals and students nationally.

• While not constant, the turbine will provide power for area residents. The university will sell the electricity to Xcel Energy for a nominal fee.

• Because the turbine is likely to be struck by lightning, it includes a sophisticated system to protect all the equipment.

Emily Zimmer

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Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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