David Wood

David Wood

Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
University of Calgary

Chair title

NSERC/ENMAX Industrial Research Chair in Renewable Energy

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2011


The main purpose of this Industrial Research Chair is to support the ENMAX Corporation's major initiative in "distributed generation"—to install thousands of photovoltaic (PV) panels on house roofs and small wind turbines in appropriate backyards. The work includes:

  • establishing extreme wind loads on PV panels to ensure their safe installation;
  • computational wind resource assessment in semi-urban locations to maximize the power production of small wind turbines;
  • measuring wind and solar resources and developing techniques to predict their future availability and interaction with distributed electricity generation;
  • providing up-to-date information to ENMAX on emerging renewable technologies, their prices, and applicability;
  • working with ENMAX and municipal authorities on regulatory issues in renewable energy (examples include streamlining the permitting a process for PV installation and addressing noise and visual impact concerns for small wind turbines); and
  • performance monitoring of small wind turbines, and PV and solar thermal installation, to validate the manufacturer's claimed performance and assess their suitability for future installations.

A number of longer-term research activities include:

  • developing advanced control and electrical systems for wind turbines and computer simulations of turbine performance, including the unsteady blade aerodynamics;
  • increasing the data base on airfoil behaviour for wind turbine design; and
  • investigating noise and vibration issues for wind turbines.

This research program will help to improve the availability, performance, and cost of renewable energy systems at the small and medium scale. It will help to make these systems more affordable to Canadian and thereby facilitate major savings in greenhouse gas emissions. The high-quality students working on the projects will provide the knowledge and skills necessary for future renewable energy developments and installations.

In addition, work is underway on appropriate renewable energy systems for the developing world. A study of water-pumping windmills has begun, as well as the involvement with a small company in Nepal which is developing indigenous small wind turbines. We are helping to develop cheap but accurate methods of making wind turbine blades from timber.

David Wood is a mechanical engineer with bachelor's and master's degrees from Sydney University, and a PhD in Aeronautics from the University of London. Dr. Wood was an academic at Newcastle University, north of Sydney, for many years where he mainly researched wind turbine aerodynamics. After leaving the university in 2004, he started his own small wind turbine business—Aerogenesis Australia. This combined academic-industry perspective is extremely valuable for the Chair work—to balance short-term needs for information with the longer-term nature of basic research.


  • ENMAX Corporation
  • GENIVAR Inc.

Contact information

Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr., NW
Calgary, Alberta
T2N 1N4

Tel.: 403-220-3637
Fax: 403-282-8406


Contact Newsletter

Get highlights of things happening at NSERC delivered to your email inbox. View all Newsletters

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
  • Instagram