Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tower, Nacelle Go Up on North Turbine

The greatest engineering feat on campus since the biomass conversion nearly a decade ago is underway, as crews continue to assemble the first of two Vestas V-82 1.65 MW wind turbines.

After the base was installed on Nov. 20 and sealed with grout, additional sections of the 270-foot tower were installed on Nov. 22 and 23. Following that work, the nacelle, bearing the college's initials and logo, was installed on Nov. 23. Construction will continue Friday, Nov. 26. Once the blades are attached to the hub, the rotor will be lifted into place next week. Then, the assembly process will be repeated for the south turbine.

Students, employees and passersby paused to witness various aspects of the assembly. As each piece was added to create the tower, one couldn't help but marvel at the trio of workers stationed inside, ready to attach and torque the components after they were maneuvered into place by a crane operator from Baldwin Crane and Equipment Corp. of Wilmington. The crew climbing the rungs of an internal ladder to do the assembly consists of Richard Jenkins of Texas, a project technician with Vestas; and a local father and son team, Jean and Chris Cormier, who work for Lumus Construction of Wilmington. Chris Cormier, is a business administration major at MWCC.

One of the differences between open field work, in building construction, for example, and wind turbine construction is "they climb on the outside and we climb on the inside," said Jenkins, who has erected over 150 turbines. "Once you get inside the tower, the height issue goes away. You get a view that no one else gets."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Base: Crane Sets North Turbine Base in Place

The base component of the north turbine was hoisted into the air and set in place by a mammoth crane on Saturday, following weeks of intense preparation for the lift and marking yet another milestone for MWCC's wind project.

"There are 120 pins that it sits on and it has to be perfectly lined up. It was an anxious moment, but it was very successful," said MWCC Resident Engineer Ed Terceiro, who had the honor of attaching the final bolt.

The base was sealed with grout, which will set for two days before additional pieces are installed. On Monday, the remaining tower sections will be added, followed by the nacelle on top. On Tuesday, the hub and blades are slated to go up. The process will be repeated the week of Nov. 29 for the south turbine.

Prior to the lift, 33 forty-foot trucks delivered crane parts over the course of nine days. A crew of six men assembled the crane that is being used to hoist the turbine components into place.

Among the tasks Friday, print shop manager Don Knower worked with D&G Custom Graphics of Fitchburg to adhere the college's logo and initials to both nacelles.  "We've lettered some weird stuff, but this takes the cake," said D&G manager John Dupont.

Photos courtesy of J.K. Scanlan Project Supervisor Joe DiPietro.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Green Society: Active on campus & in the community

The Green Society, MWCC's enterprising sustainability club for students, has not only left an indelible mark on campus, but has gained a name for itself in the community as well. For the past few years, club members have volunteered at the annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange and at the Thanksgiving Harvest Festival at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston.

On Saturday, Nov. 20, club members and their advisor, Professor Tom Montagno, will once again sponsor and oversee two of the popular "X-Games" at the harvest festival: the "Hay Bale Tossing"championship and the "World Wood Stacking Competition." Prizes go to the participants who can fling hay bales the farthest and stack a cord of wood faster and neater than others. The festival, now in its 8th year, promotes buying locally grown food and supports local farmers by providing an opportunity for people to purchase fresh produce, crafts and other goods in time for the holidays.

In October, club members again volunteered at the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival, dubbed "the festival that stinks." Their task - recycling and composting trash - may not sound glamorous, but the results certainly are remarkable. More than 10,000 people attended this year, yet once the volunteers were done sorting biodegradable utensils, bottles, food scraps and other recyclables from the refuse, the trash was condensed to just two bags!

This fall, club members have been busy maintaining two ongoing projects on campus: the organic Kitchen Garden alongside the greenhouse, and composting kitchen scraps to reduce the amount of garbage going into the trash stream. The club rebuilt the garden beds, planted garlic for use next year, and planted alfalfa to feed more nitrogen into the soil. In the spring, vegetables and herbs will be planted for use in meals prepared by The Green Street Cafe. And, once this winter's snow has come and gone, watch for the club's annual "bulb sale" (energy-efficient light bulbs, that is), as well as continued participation in the Community Garden on campus.

Pictured: Several members of The Green Society with Professor Tom Montagno at the Kitchen Garden.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Turbine Foundation Deja Vu

Construction crews built the second foundation at MWCC’s wind energy site this week, duplicating last week's process of creating a solid ring of steel and concrete that will anchor the two turbines into the earth.

Earlier in the week, crews installed reinforcing steel, which will increase the strength of the concrete. Then, on Thursday, crews from S&F Concrete filled the foundation structure with approximately 85 yards of a specialty concrete.
Next week, 30 to 35 trucks are expected to arrive - hauling onto campus the components that will make up the super-crane that will erect the two turbines. The Manitowoc 2250 crane is so large in fact, that it will take another crane just assemble it!