CALTECH Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE)

The Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE) was established in 2010 with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to demonstrate innovative approaches to wind energy that have the potential to concurrently reduce the cost, size, and environmental impacts of wind farms. Research at FLOWE has been concurrently supported by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.

Ongoing and future activities at FLOWE include meteorological, power, acoustic, and radar measurements of portable, vertical-axis wind turbines in dozens of configurations. The site is also used to develop new data-enabled measurement techniques such as visual anemometry (Cardona et al., NeurIPS 2019). For other recent research at FLOWE, please see the Publications page.

A wind farm in igiugig alaska

In collaboration with the University of Alaska and the Alaska Energy Authority, this project aims to demonstrate a microgrid energy solution using vertical-axis wind turbines and battery storage to provide affordable, renewable energy that offsets diesel fuel consumption in rural communities.

Pilot studies from 2013 to 2018 informed the design of a new generation of more efficient and resilient vertical-axis wind turbines. Grid modernization is underway, with turbine installation scheduled for 2020.