Lake Metroparks has been at the forefront
of providing publicly accessible, educational demonstrations of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Administrator Lake Metroparks Farmpark.
The overall goal of Lake Metroparks is
create a site that illustrates renewable
energy generating technologies and
interprets the ways in which solar and
wind energy produces electricity and the
food we consume.
This provides another
ultimate energy source upon which
agricultural production and life on
relies: the sun. As a result of all
of the site’s renewable energy
features, visitors will be able to better understand the value of renewable energy for our food and future.
a year’s time, the diffuse energy of the
sun drives the annual growth of the plant life
fields and forests that in turn sustains both animals and humans. Harnessing the
diffuse energy of the sun and wind is not a new concept for humans. Consider that
every bite of food we take is a bit of renewable solar energy. Since humans began farming they gathered the energy of the sun in the plants and stored it to provide
energy for use year-round, particularly when the sun dips toward the Southern horizon
in the dead of winter.
Over time, humans were able to literally harness more of the
sun’s energy when they harnessed cattle and then horses. Wind energy, a product of
solar energy heating the earth, has also played an important role in agriculture for thousands of years by pumping water and grinding grain and, in the last century, providing electricity to isolated farms.
The way energy flows through the agricultural production system – in the past,
present and future – is a key theme of Farmpark’s interpretive program. Capturing
solar energy for human consumption has been one of the ongoing themes of the
programs at Farmpark, particularly in the Plant Science Center and the Dairy
Parlor. Greenhouses are designed to let solar energy into a protected environment that
shelters plants while encouraging growth by providing the maximum available
sunshine when sunlight is at a minimum. The Great Tomato Works exhibit focuses on
photosynthesis and the storage of energy in different part of the plants. In the Dairy,
the theme is that of cows consuming stored solar energy in hay and passing it on to
humans in milk.
The wind turbine provides a fuller experience of green energy for our visitors and students as well as providing additional energy for the powering of our Farmpark facility,” explains Baker. “The experimental nature of this project will also provide additional opportunities to understand energy efficiencies and turbine design.”
The turbine is part of a project designed to test and ultimately develop a more efficient small wind turbine acclimated to the conditions found in Northeast Ohio. The turbine being installed is a Bergey Excel 10 with a maximum 10 kW output at wind speeds of 27 mph. It is a three bladed turbine with a 23 foot rotor diameter. It will start producing at wind speeds of 5 mph and is designed for winds up to 134 mph. The unit will betide into the grid at Lake Metroparks Farmpark’s Plant Science Center. The tower has a 14 foot adapter on it designed to allow the turbine to be lowered for service.
The project is designed to test an industry standard turbine to establish a baseline and then test possible improvements to get greater efficiencies, power production and durability. After a year of gathering baseline data, the Renaissance Group has begun testing various component variants of the turbine system with the goal of determining what configuration of small wind turbine is best suited for the wind patterns found in areas like this part of Ohio.
Installation Company Information
The Renaissance Group, based in Kirtland, Ohio, is a consortium of highly skilled professionals specializing in appropriate technology consultation and implementation with special focuses on efficiency, conservation, renewable energy and green building. The Renaissance Group is involved in a number of renewable energy installations both locally and nationally including the research wind monitoring tower on the Lake Erie Cleveland water intake crib, as well as several wind turbine and solar projects at a number of Ohio schools through their Kilowatts for Education program.
Solar Tracker Exhibit
The solar tracker exhibit was designed to illustrate some of the science behind solar energy. the energy captured by the tracker’s solar panels powers an arcing aeration fountain in the west pond. during the winter, when the fountains are not needed, the energy from the solar tracker will go into the general electrical grid.