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Realistic Hurricane Testing For Resilient Energy Infrastructure

1745 words - 7 pages

Economic and resilient designs of energy infrastructure require accurate estimation of hurricane-induced loads. Hurricane wind, rain and wave loads are governing design parameters for resilient energy infrastructure. While the current direction for seeking energy resources pay attention to clean and renewable energy, for instance, wind energy and solar energy, the technology is not yet widely spread in Louisiana because of the construction cost and the risk of damage by aggressive hurricanes. While the running cost for solar and wind energy is minimal, the capital cost is governed by the construction cost. Louisiana is a rich place for wind energy, especially, the coast, in addition to solar energy. A part from energy generation infrastructure, power transmission lines and towers, have proven flaws in their design for moderate and strong hurricane wind and rain. Hurricane winds, rain, and waves, coupled with aging and vulnerable infrastructure, pose the potential for economic losses. The ability to mitigate these losses in existing and new energy infrastructure requires a complete understanding of these complex stressors from experimental and computational perspectives. The interaction of hurricanes with different systems urges the need for a comprehensive integrated model for the characterization of loading, and the analysis and investigation of proper mitigation techniques.
This proposal focuses on the fabrication and validation of a new state-of-the-art physical hurricane testing facility (hurricane simulator) at LSU. The LSU’s innovative hurricane facility will be concerned with the study of the impact of hurricane wind, rain and wave on energy infrastructure (power transmission lines and towers, green energy infrastructures, inland and offshore wind turbines, solar panels/collectors, oil platforms) and the built environment at large, with an objective to build the more resilient community. The building will house a new facility that represents a modern transition from traditional wind tunnel testing to large and full-scale testing under realistic hurricane loading. This will permit to examine the performance of large and full-scale energy infrastructure built from true materials to ascertain both security and economic construction. By using aerodynamic/hydrodynamic testing, one can examine the efficacy of the structures (both new and existing ones) to sustain extreme hurricane loads. Different mitigation techniques will be proposed and investigated at both small- and large-scales experimental/computational studies (multi-physics multi-scale).
Located in a hurricane vulnerable region, Louisiana will benefit the most form this research facility, as well as the southern part of the U.S. The research activities will be beneficial for graduate and undergraduate students by providing an opportunity to learn and to get involved in real world applications (project based learning). This is a multidisciplinary research center where...

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