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Published: Tuesday, 6/24/2008

Ohio Northern University students test winds, trying to aid school

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Don Wilson of Northwest Tower & Antenna of Cridersville, Ohio, installs one of four anemometers on a radio tower. They measure wind speed. Two wind vanes also were put up. Don Wilson of Northwest Tower & Antenna of Cridersville, Ohio, installs one of four anemometers on a radio tower. They measure wind speed. Two wind vanes also were put up.
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ADA, Ohio - A group of Ohio Northern University students began efforts to study wind as a possible campus energy source by installing six data-collection devices yesterday.

The devices - four anemometers to measure wind speed and two wind vanes to measure direction - were placed on the campus radio tower at 60, 70, and 80 meters above the ground.

After at least a year of measurements, those devices should be able to let the university know if investing in wind turbines, which would be at least at those heights, would be a good idea.

It started as a class project by two civil engineering students, which they took off paper and into practice.

"Every day as we walk into class we're getting blown around by the wind," said Matthew Pierce, 21, a civil engineering junior at ONU. "We were going over our reports and said, 'Hey, this might be feasible,'•"

So with university support to pay about $4,000 for the devices and the go-ahead to do the study, Mr. Pierce and four other students have put it into practice.

It's not part of a class or a job, and they don't have a faculty adviser.

While some students could use such research for senior projects, Mr. Pierce said some are doing it essentially on their own out of pure curiosity.

"We're just doing it because the university could benefit a lot from it, and we want to see that," Mr. Pierce said.

The students anticipate collecting the wind speed and direction data, as well as temperatures from a separate device, every couple of weeks from the memory cards.

They'll compile their findings in reports to the university and village of Ada, Mr. Pierce said.

ONU had just started looking into the idea of wind energy as the students were doing their project, so it was perfect timing for the collaboration, said John Green, vice president of financial affairs at the university.

"It's a real, real logical thing to do," he said. "We'd take a hard look at it and measure the economics of it."



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