The ArcelorMittal plant in Cleveland already knows which way the wind blows.
It comes out of the southwest, usually.
But is it strong enough to spin giant blades and create electricity? That’s the question.
The steel mill began monitoring the wind last week to see if its location along the Cuyahoga River can support giant electricity-producing turbines. It had hoped to have its meteorological testing tower in place by last summer, but delays pushed the timing into this year.
The steel tower stands 197 feet high and is eight inches wide at the base and 4½ inches wide at the top. Three pairs of anemometers are attached to the tower above 130 feet. The cupped devices twirl in the wind, sending signals down the tower to a data collection box at the bottom. The information is then transmitted by cellular technology to equipment installer EnviroPlan Consulting of Fairfield, N.J.
Also, two weather vanes will track wind direction.
The tower, supported by 28 guy wires, stands in a flat wasteland of gray slag just to the east of the Cuyahoga River and to the west of the dome-shaped landfill where dried sludge from the steel-making process is discarded. The prevailing winds sweep across the Cuyahoga Valley, evidenced on a recent afternoon by the plumes of steam drifting from the mill’s nearby blast furnaces.
It’s in that general area where ArcelorMittal would likely install wind turbines, if they prove economically feasible – and if the neighbors are on board, said Keith Nagel, director of environmental affairs and real estate for ArcelorMittal USA.
The telltale period for testing will be summer, when the winds are at their lightest.
If the winds are capable of sustaining the turbines during those months, then there should be no problem the rest of the year, Nagel said.
Turbines at the Cleveland mill could help power the plant or provide relatively cheap electricity as incentive to new businesses.
ArcelorMittal also plans to install wind-testing towers at its East Chicago, Ind., plant and possibly at its mill in Burns Harbor, Ind. It already has eight wind turbines along the Lake Erie shoreline on land it owns near Buffalo, N.Y. The turbines were erected on bluffs formed by steel slag dumped in the lake years ago by then-owner Bethlehem Steel Corp.
Plain Dealer Reporter
13 February 2008
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