on opening day, indians harness wind power to fuel ballpark operations

When Cleveland Indians fans catch their first game at Progressive Field this season, they'll be able to check out not only the power hitters in the batting lineup, but also a giant, new wind turbine that harnesses wind power to fuel the ballpark's operations.

The recently constructed turbine, which is the latest in the team's efforts to green-up its ballpark operations, was designed by Cleveland State University engineering professor Majid Rashidi. It weighs 10 tons and generates 40,000 kilowatt hours per year, which is enough to power about 2.5 households. Progressive Field uses about 17 million kilowatt hours per year.

"As our fans know, it's very windy at the ballpark. We've always wanted to do a turbine, but the technology just wasn't there," says Brad Mohr, Assistant Director of Ballpark Operations. "I gave a talk to the Corporate Sustainability Network organized by CSU in 2008, and that's when I got connected to Dr. Rashidi."

Rashidi had designed a vented wind turbine design, which fits into a more compact space than a traditional turbine and pivots with the wind. "It works in cities where there's turbulent wind," explains Mohr. "Much like a rock in a river, it pushes the air molecules at a faster speed through the turbine and generates power."

Mohr, who says he is proud that this is an all-Cleveland project, is working on efforts to educate fans. The Indians will install an interpretive area in the ballpark where people can learn about the park's sustainability efforts, which include solar arrays, energy reduction initiatives, recycling and food composting.

"Without a doubt, teams are looking hard at sustainability," says Mohr. "Through the Green Sports Alliance, we're sharing what's next with each other. For the Indians to influence others in the industry, that makes us very proud."

Source: Brad Mohr
Writer: Lee Chilcote
Photo: Bob Perkoski
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