To celebrate the 80th anniversary of its installation, James Manwell, PhD of the University of Massachusetts, will speak about the development of the of the Smith-Putnam wind turbine.

To register for the Zoom webinar, please click here.

Please also see our new virtual exhibit “Energy Awaits: The Smith-Putnam Wind Turbine and
the Beginning of Modern Wind Energy in America”.

The Smith-Putnam wind turbine, built by the S. Morgan Smith Company of York, PA in 1941, was a seminal harbinger of the worldwide energy transition that is taking place today.  Although the turbine operated for only a relatively short time, its legacy is still relevant.  When installed, the wind turbine was the largest one ever constructed anywhere.  In the 1970s, when the United States’ Energy Research and Development Administration began to think seriously about wind energy again, they turned to its designer, Palmer C. Putnam, for guidance.  The MOD series of wind turbines followed from that experience.  Over the succeeding years, wind energy technology has continued to advance to the point where even larger machines are able to operate reliably and economically.  There are many differences between the wind turbines of today and the Smith-Putnam machine, but there are similarities as well, and the pioneering work from that project continues to resonate.  This talk will provide a summary of the Smith-Putnam wind turbine, its design, fabrication and installation, and describe its place in the rise of modern wind energy.

James F. Manwell is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Founding Director of the University’s Wind Energy Center.  Professor Manwell has been working in the field on wind energy for more than 35 years, both within the United States and internationally.  His research interests have focused on assessment of the wind resource and wind turbine external design conditions, hybrid power system design, energy storage and offshore wind energy.  He worked with the International Energy Agency’s wind energy R&D activity, Annex VIII, which dealt with autonomous wind systems and in conjunction with that activity was a contributing author to the book, Wind-Diesel Systems: A Guide to the Technology and its Implementation.  He has been and continues to be a member of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s working groups which have been developing design standards for offshore wind turbines since 2001.  He is an author of the text book Wind Energy Explained: Theory, Design, and Application (Wiley, 2009) and “Offshore Wind Energy: Technology Trends, Challenges, and Risks,” in the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology as well as numerous other publications on various aspects of wind energy.

Event Details

Webinar – The History of the Smith-Putnam Wind Turbine

October 28, 2021

7:00 pm

Free, registration required

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