NMSU professor awarded $100k grant to study wind turbine technology

El Paso News

New Mexico State University Civil Engineering Assistant Professor Doeun Choe has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to research challenges facing floating offshore wind turbine technology. (NMSU photo by Vladimir Avina)

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – A civil engineering assistant professor from New Mexico State University has received a $121,331 grant from the National Science Foundation to research challenges within floating offshore wind turbine technology.

Offshore wind energy is a source of clean and renewable energy obtained by the force of wind at sea, where it reaches a higher and more constant speed than the wind caught on land. This wind energy is collected by floating offshore wind turbines, tethered to a seabed to prevent them from floating away.

Doeun Choe believes the goal of her research should always result in helping society progress. The $121,331 grant will fuel 14 months worth of the professor’s time on researching floating offshore wind turbines.

“I started working on floating offshore wind turbines because I believe this will give my kids and future generations fresh air and sustainable energy resources to live,” Choe said. “I further believe that securing sustainable energy is a critical component to offer the quality of life for every current and future generation, as we all know that the current fossil fuel is limited and will end at some point.” 

These state-of-the-art turbines are highly regarded as one of the most promising alternatives to energy resources with an abundance of space and fewer restrictions and guidelines to work around.

Floating offshore wind turbines can collect an estimated four times more wind energy than onshore (on-land) turbines, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The technology of floating offshore wind turbines requires significant research efforts to be considered economically viable. 

“This project is a small part of supporting physical sustainability of our society,” Choe said. “However, we need more understanding and help in all aspects of the sustainability including the fields of social, human and engineering to support the sustainability of our future needs.” 

Choe said her project aims to identify uncertainties surrounding turbine structures including challenges found in ocean environmental loading, hydrodynamics, and structural and material properties, which can pose a threat to the reliability and feasibility of the turbines.

Undergraduate, community college, and high school students are welcome to assist on the project.

“While the research project is focusing on complicated mathematical modeling of its uncertainty, that is not all,” Choe said. “They (students) can also participate in the outreach activities, letting the community understand the importance of green and sustainable energy.”

Students can also provide help with setting the basic foundation of wind turbine modeling and with the project presentation.

“We are very pleased with Dr. Choe’s early success as a new faculty member at NMSU and are looking forward to her future contributions,” said Lakshmi N. Reddi, dean of NMSU’s College of Engineering. “Renewable energy is a big focus of research programs in several of our departments and this is a very novel and exciting project to expand this focus. It’s very heartening to have ongoing research that will benefit future generations.”

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.