For the inaugural U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition, the student team from James Madison University designed a small wind turbine to provide power for charging electronic devices in energy-impoverished communities where handheld devices serve as the principal means of remote communication. The portable wind turbine is designed to be inexpensive to manufacture and produce, as well as to maintain and repair. The project team members represented diverse interests and disciplines, and programs and/or departments within the Colleges of Integrated Science and Engineering, Business, and Arts and Letters. The students shared a collective spirit of supporting developing communities in which energy is a scarce resource. See the entire project portfolio below or on the team's website.
The interdisciplinary makeup of the James Madison University team made it possible to sub-divide the project into separate, coordinated efforts. One engineering team designed the rotor, while the other designed the electronics and controls. Another team focused on the integration of components and sub-systems. The business planning team and another team focused on the market topic and presentation. Numerous sub-teams engaged in other aspects of the overall project, including project management, communications, safety, and logistics. Each team and sub-team comprised students from multiple disciplines. The project resulted in the formation of Madison Wind Solutions, LLC, with its first product being a small, portable wind turbine intended specifically to provide a portable power source in energy-impoverished communities.
- Horizontal-axis wind turbine
- Upwind design
- Five-bladed system
- Readily replaceable components
- External electrical box with user interface