Enriching Rural American Farmers and Their Communities By Enabling Broadcasters To Power Transmitters With Wind Energy

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2012-02132
Agency Tracking Number: 2012-02132
Amount: $449,840.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.6
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-003621
Small Business Information
9 PLAINSBORO RD, Cranbury, NJ, 08512-3209
DUNS: 012224548
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert Miller
 (609) 655-0981
Business Contact
 Frank Marlowe
Title: Vice President Engineering
Phone: (609) 655-0981
Email: Frank_Marlowe@Comcast.net
Research Institution
Regions in the US with wind levels suitable for producing substantial renewable energy are located in the predominantly agricultural center of the country where population density and therefore demand for electrical power are low. Transport of power from wind farms in this section of the country to the coastal regions where population and the need for power are high is limited by the capacity of the electrical grid, which was designed to link power sources (mainly coal and nuclear plants) located close to demand centers. Television and radio broadcasters are heavy consumers of electrical power with transmission facilities distributed across all regions of the US. Most regions are served by broadcasters with transmitters on or adjacent to farmland. In many cases, the placement of 1 turbine on each of these farms would generate enough power for both the farmer and the broadcaster without adding to the load on the utility grid. TV and FM broadcasters spend more than $400MM annually on transmitter power. A distributed wind cooperative among broadcasters and farmers will bring many benefits to rural economies and to the environment. It will improve the sustainability of local television in rural communities by making a direct substantial reduction to their electrical bill, which is their largest non-personnel expense Benefits to the agriculture industry include a new, reliable, on-site cash generating "wind energy crop" that can be sold locally. The project will enable substantial amounts of money spent for energy to remain in local, rural communities. It will also help to provide a steady income for farmers which could prevent the sale or repossession of the "family farm" due to financial hardship. These distributed, local community-based, renewable power systems have been prevalent in Europe for decades. Distributed wind energy systems circumvent the national power grid constraints by utilizing the power directly, on site. There are approximately 1,200 TV and 2,600 FM transmitters in the 12 windswept Midwest states and another 14,000 transmitters in the remaining states. If fully realized, distributed wind turbines serving all TV and FM markets have the potential to produce approximately 4 TW hours of renewable energy and eliminate 2.5 million metric tons of CO2 annually. It has been well established that wind turbines can cause interference to TV and Radio transmissions. Phases 1 of this project developed a proof of feasibility basic interference model. Phase II will develop an general interference prediction model that can be used to properly place turbines on farms in close proximity to transmission towers while eliminating or mitigating problems with signal interference. Phase 3 will demonstrate the full technical and economic performance of an operating transmitter powered by and co-sited with a fully operational wind turbine.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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