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Optimized Wind Power with UPowerUSA and Autodesk CFD

James Herzing
June 15, 2016

What is known about sails and sailboat operation is well understood.  How to use those age-old principles on land to harness the energy of the wind was the challenge we gave the Autodesk CFD simulation tools.

The UPower goal of changing the fundamental economics of alternative energy so that subsidies are not needed to compete against coal and natural gas, obviously required more than minor tweaks to existing systems.

Autodesk’s CFD allowed us to validate our designs before expensive and time consuming prototypes were built and tested.  Further, reliability and quality are trademarks of all of Jean-Francis Kisovec’s innovations, so assuring quality was designed in through extensive simulation tested was critical up front.

Performance must be balanced against cost at every level to compete with coal and natural gas power plants on a distributed basis.  To do that, we used CFD tools at every turn (some pun intended).

One performance issue required to understand in wind turbine development is turbulence.  The CFD sim tools allowed us to optimize our understanding of the exact impact of turbulence on the 3P Windstation – further honing the design.

Autodesk CFD also allowed us to understand the exact performance, reliability and cost trade-offs from items like the number of sails.  For example, we discovered that by using two sails instead of three, the cost and reliability improvements far outweighed the 15% reduction in electricity output that was calculated.  Given our goal of “lowest possible cost per kWH generated, these types of trade-offs needed to be simulated and determined before prototyping and testing could begin.

In the near future we’ll be following up to discuss the dramatic results that the Autodesk software produced to help guide the form of the 3P WindStation

UPowerUSA, LLC – Empowering people to cost effectively create their own energy independence. For more information about UPowerUSA, please visit


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James Herzing

James Herzing is the Product Marketing Manager for the Autodesk Simulation portfolio. He has spent 12 years in the field of Finite Element Analysis, starting his career at Algor, Inc and with the last 7 spent at Autodesk. He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.