The world’s largest wind tunnel for wind sensor calibration opened in Williston – and Governor Peter Shumlin and representatives from The University of Vermont (UVM) and NRG Systems were on hand for the event. Owned and operated by Svend Ole Hansen of SOH Wind Engineering, this facility will be used to calibrate wind sensors like those manufactured by Hinesburg’s NRG Systems as well as to test the effects of wind on large structures like bridges and buildings. The wind tunnel will also serve as an educational resource for the UVMstudents.
“The opening of this wind tunnel is great news for Vermont,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “Not only will it help support businesses like NRG Systems that require this specialized service, the wind tunnel provides a great learning opportunity for our science, technology, engineering and math students.”
Svend Ole Hansen, principal of SOH Wind Engineering and wind tunnel owner, decided to launch this new business in the United States in response to a request issued by Hinesburg-based NRG Systems, global manufacturer of wind turbine measurement equipment and optimization systems.
“The reason I chose to site my business in Vermont is because of NRG Systems,” said Svend Ole Hansen. “And the reason we’ve constructed such a large tunnel is it will allow my company to advance the science of wind engineering and gain a better understanding of wind forces on a variety of structures.”
“The presence of this new wind tunnel is great news for our company, our customers, and the global wind industry in general,” said John Norton, chief operating officer of NRG Systems. “It creates the opportunity to understand the behavior of our sensors in an unrestricted but controlled environment and it allows NRG Systems to verify the accuracy of sensor calibrations, reduce transportation costs, and better serve our customers.”
The wind tunnel will also serve as an educational resource for UVM professors and students in the engineering school. Currently, two UVM engineering students are working at the facility and others are using the facility for academic projects.
“We are so fortunate to have a facility of this caliber in our backyard,” said Dryver Huston, PhD, UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. “This gives our students the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom into a real world setting.”
The wind tunnel facility has a wide range of applications for businesses in civil and mechanical engineering, architecture, transportation and renewable energy. Its flexible design allows it to be configured to test large structures such as bridges and buildings as well as small items such as anemometers. At full build-out the Williston facility will operate four closed return-flow wind tunnels; two of which are operating now. Each wind tunnel measures about 10 feet tall by 10 feet wide and 125 feet long and includes two 125 horsepower fans capable of producing wind speeds up to 65 miles per hour.
Launching the business was a two-year initiative that integrated private investment with public dollars. Based on the capital investment and employment projections, SOH secured a grant under The Vermont Economic Growth Initiative for roughly $150,000.
SOH Wind Engineering is an independently-owned company that is located in Williston, Vermont. Together with its sister company, Svend Ole Hansen ApS, located in Copenhagen, Denmark, the company has more than 25 years of experience in wind engineering and boundary layer wind tunnel testing.