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NMSU engineering professor awarded NSF grant to study the uncertainties in floating offshore wind turbines


Doeun Choe believes the goal of her research should always result in helping society. And the civil engineering assistant professor in New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering has received a 14-month, $121,331 grant from the National Science Foundation to research challenges facing floating offshore wind turbine technology. 
Floating offshore wind turbines have been regarded as one of the most promising alternatives to access energy resources with vast available space and fewer restrictions and regulations. 
“I started working on the floating offshore wind turbine because I believe this will give my kids and future generations fresh air and sustainable energy resources to live,” Choe said. “And I further believe that securing sustainable energy is a critical component to offer the quality life for every current and future generation, as we all know that the current fossil fuel is limited and will end at some point.” 
Choe’s project will identify the uncertainties involved in floating offshore wind turbine structures including those within the ocean environmental loading, hydrodynamics, and the structural and material properties, which threaten the reliability and the feasibility of floating offshore wind turbines. According to National Renewable Energy Laboratory, floating offshore wind turbines can collect an estimated four times the wind energy than onshore wind turbines. But the technology of floating offshore wind turbines requires significant research efforts to be economically viable. 
“I intend to help people to harvest more green energy resources with my engineering expertise through this research, hoping this energy eventually helps people to sustain a quality life,” Choe said. 
“We are very pleased with Dr. Choe’s early success as a new faculty member at NMSU and are looking forward to her future contributions,” said College of Engineering Dean Lakshmi N. Reddi. “Renewable energy is a big focus of research programs in several of our departments and this is a very novel and exciting project to expand this focus. It’s very heartening to have ongoing research that will benefit future generations.”
Additionally, undergraduate, community college and high school students can assist on this project. Choe, who joined the NMSU faculty in January 2021, said she believes high school and undergraduate students can contribute to the literature reviews and simple steps of the wind turbine modeling and help with the research project presentation. 
“While the research project is focusing on complicated mathematical modeling of its uncertainty, that is not all,” Choe said. “They also can participate in the outreach activities, letting the community understand the importance of green and sustainable energy.
“This project is a small part of supporting physical sustainability of our society,” Choe said. “However, we need more understanding and help in all aspects of the sustainability including the fields of social, human and engineering to support the sustainability of our future needs.”