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A WindEEE day

Supporters of the WindEEE Research Institute tour the innovative and ground-breaking facility

April 20, 2015

Horia Hangan, Western Engineering professor and founding director of WindEEE Research Institute, shows donors the WindEEE Dome in April, 2015.

Tornadoes, hurricanes and storm bursts … oh my!

No, this isn’t Kansas, or the land of OZ; it’s Western’s Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment (WindEEE) Dome in London, Ont.

Designed to protect us from storms, harness the power of wind and develop sustainable cities, the WindEEE Institute at Western University is home to the world’s first three-dimensional wind-testing chamber. Its facilities, known as the WindEEE Dome, allow scientists to address important scientific, economic and societal challenges related to wind, while evaluating energy potential and damage risks.

On April 14, 2015, donors to the WindEEE Dome had the first-hand opportunity to tour the facility and witness a demonstration of the dome’s functionality.

ABB, a global leader in power and automation technology, provided in-kind support valued at $1.3 million by designing, supplying and installing the electrical power and automation system to control the 106 fans that produce WindEEE’s downbursts and tornado simulations.

“We believe in building a better world and we are proud to be supporting education in engineering, energy and the environment for the future generation of leaders,” said ABB Canada President and CEO Daniel Assandri.

The WindEEE Dome, which was completed in 2014, has recently been recognized as an “infrastructure with national character” by the NSERC WESNet Strategic Network and is currently under consideration by the Government of Canada for national status.

The Research Institute is gaining international momentum as well, through partnerships in Europe, the Americas and Asia, and is also home to a number of international graduate students.

“The WindEEE Research Institute is growing to be a transformative vehicle to foster growth and interdisciplinary excellence,” said Horia Hangan, a Western Engineering professor and founding director of WindEEE. “I thank all of our donors for their contributions toward the WindEEE Research Institute – and for helping Western raise its international profile as a global leader in wind research and innovation.”

A significant research development coming out of WindEEE involves understanding the structural behaviour of critical infrastructure in the face of tornadoes.

Currently, our critical infrastructure, such as transmission lines, hospitals or nuclear power plants, do not properly account for wind loads from tornadoes or downbursts, yet more than 65 per cent of all wind related damage in interior North America is due to these wind systems.

The goal with these findings will be to make guideline recommendations and to alter the engineering codes of practice for designing these structures to withstand tornadoes and other high intensity wind events.

For more information about WindEEE Research Institute, or to make a donation, please contact Virginia Daugharty, alumni and development officer, Faculty of Engineering (519.661.4209 or

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