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Prof. William David Lubitz

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Research Facilities

Guelp Pico-Hydro Testing Laboratory

This laboratory allows controlled environment tests of a wide range of pico-hydro technologies, including Archimedes screws, cross flow and axial flow turbines. Facilities include:

  • a continuous flow flume
  • two pico-hydro testing units capable of reproducing flows up to 15 L/s at heads up to 3.5 m.
  • laboratory scale Archimedes screw research facility capable of accurate performance measurements of Archimedes screws used for power generation.
  • dataloggers and sensors, including depth gauages, flow meters, load cells and power meters, for field measurement campaigns.
We also have access to several small hydro sites for field measurements and model validation studies. Current work includes a strong research collaboration with GreenBug Energy, a leading North American designer and provider of Archimedes screw generating systems.

Guelph Wind Engineering Laboratory

The Guelph Wind Engineering Laboratory has facilities for a wide range of research in environmental aerodynamics, wind energy and wind engineering. Current and past work has included wind resource assessment studies, design of small wind turbines, characertization of flow fields near buildings and trees, and flow visualization studies ranging in scale from small walls to the Niagara Falls region. The laboratory infrastrucutre allows full scale measurements in the field, as well as wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. We can also access world-leading facilities in the local region, including the WindEEE Dome at Western University. Guelph Wind Engineering Laboratory facilities include:

  • Small wind turbine test site with 2 colocated 20 m towers, Bergey XL1 turbine, high resolution datalogging
  • Open return boundary layer wind tunnel (4 ft by 4 ft cross-section, 24 feet of fetch plus spires) with turntable
  • Hotwire anemometry (single and triple wires), 3D traverser
  • Pitot tube and pressure transducer
  • Helium bubble flow visualization
  • Sonic anemometers (including Campbell CSAT3's), plus cups/vanes/other met sensors
  • Towers up to 60 m
  • CFD: Fluent

Research Projects

Dynamics of Archimedes screws used for power generation

Archimedes screws are a relatively recent addition to the range of available microhydro turbines. We are conducting laboratory and field studies of Archimedes screw generating system in partnership with GreenBug Energy. Our goal in this long term research is to develop improved tools for designing site-optimized Archimedes screw generator installations.

Pico-hydro generators for use in rural Cameroon

In partnership with Green Step (a German NGO), an existing pico-hydro generator design was fabricated and tested at the University of Guelph. Several possible improvements were identified, and new pico-hydro generator designs are now being developed.

Biocomposite Wind Turbine Blades

Wind turbine blades are traditionally made from composite materials that are ultimately derived from petroleum resources. We are developing wind turbine blades made from soy-based biocomposites. This research seeks to optimize the blade design to take advantage of the specific properties of the biocomposites, while also improving aerodynamic performance.

On-Farm Biodiesel Production

We have a multi-year collaborative project underway evaluating the engineering and economic feasibility of on-farm biodiesel production. This project includes the construction and operation of a farm-scale biodiesel plant at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown campus. The goal is to see how "closing the loop" in farm energy supply, by using crops to generate both fuel and feed, can be achieved. Engineering-related research projects include investigating methods of utilizing the co-products of the biodiesel process (glycerol, catalysts, wash water), improving the efficiency of extracting oil from soybeans, and developing quality-control tests for finished biodiesel that are effective, economical and can be performed in the farm setting.

Wind Resource Assessment Tools for Small Wind Turbines

Those interested in installing small wind turbines currently have few resources available to accurately predict the wind climate (wind speeds, directions and turbulence) at a potential small wind turbine site. This information is needed to predict whether a small wind turbine will make economic sense at a particular location. A project is underway that seeks to develop tools for this purpose. Research will be conducted in collaboration with industry partners, and will use field experimenst, CFD and wind tunnel modelling. The main focus of the research will be developing improving predictive models and developing low cost approaches that balance the needs for low cost and accuracy when measuring winds at potential small turbine sites.

Other Projects

Additional graduate projects are also being developed in the fields of waste energy utilization, aerodynamics of bicycles for transportation, heat-pump-based geothermal system design, wind resources in urban areas, and in predicting the long-term (several decades) variation in the wind resource at specific turbine locations. Contact me for more information.

If any of these projects interests you, please contact me.


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