In between the technology exhibits at the June 4 and 6 (2019) NiSource Innovation Expo days,* a nine-member NIPSCO leadership team took time on June 5 to examine in detail a range of CIVS wind energy, virtual training, wind-energy virtual training, and other advanced simulation and visualization projects and capabilities at the Purdue Northwest CIVS facilities.
Following an overview of the numerous past research projects performed in partnership with NIPSCO, the focus turned to extensive in-depth demonstrations of state-of-the-art technologies, and discussions of future potential collaboration opportunities and evolving technology applications.
CIVS’s 10 years of research and development in wind energy featured prominently, and both simulation and visualization wind energy projects were thoroughly examined. CIVS Research Engineer Tyamo Okosun, Ph.D., detailed visualization techniques and simulation results of wind turbine wake flow studies (from his Master’s thesis work), while Associate Research Engineer Kyle Toth and CIVS Director Chenn Zhou together catalogued the scope and accumulating achievements of the wind energy technician training/workforce development simulators—already in deployment at community colleges around the country and amassing statistics on their efficacy.
Inquiries about simulators for maintenance and troubleshooting led to review of the renowned AMTEC project spearheaded by CIVS, which segued into up-close-and-personal demonstrations of existing CIVS and SMSVC safety simulators.
CIVS staff Kyle Toth, Tyamo Okosun, and John Moreland, along with graduate research student Justin Heffron, fielded inquiries about and demonstrated select training simulators and visualization capabilities on a variety of advanced technology devices. The NIPSCO leadership team (Violet Sistovaris, Mike Hooper, Ben Felton, Dan Douglas, Jim Zucal, Cliff Scott, Paul Kelly, Jennifer Montague, and Aaron Brow) duly beta-tested several final-stage training simulators, including the NiSource-CIVS “First Responder” VR training, and contributed their own user assessments, informed by their particular operations knowledge and experience.
The CIVS Virtual Fire Extinguisher training simulator drew unanimously positive reviews (as it had previously, when demonstrated to instructors at NiSource’s nationally recognized “Safety Town” facilities in Ohio), building on discussions of how useful it would be to develop libraries of similar virtual learning resources.
Continuing the pattern of CIVS and NIPSCO being reciprocal-resources for one another, NIPSCO Communications & External Affairs VP Jennifer Montague outlined how the upcoming NIPSCO “energy ambassadors” summer internship program could provide an outreach-and-education opportunity for Director Zhou, noting that the selected high-school-age participants would probably be a group well-predisposed to learning about engineering career possibilities at CIVS and PNW.
“Whenever our NIPSCO and NiSource partners can directly delve into our research-and-development collaborations,” said Zhou, “the research projects benefit from their input. We look forward to the opportunities provided by NIPSCO’s vision for the future.”