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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Collegiate Wind Competition kicks off May 8, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Twelve talented teams from across the United States will put their wind turbines to the test at the competition, which will be held at the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER Conference. These teams have dedicated their time to wind power, looked offshore for inspiration, and utilized 3-D printing to revolutionize their design process.

Read more about the 12 teams participating in the conference—and come see their projects at WINDPOWER from May 8–10.

California State University, Chico — DNWND

DNWND is building a horizontal-axis wind turbine with 3-D printed turbine blades. Their target market? Mountainous regions with high population densities and large energy demands. But for DNWND, the work doesn’t end in May. This diverse group of students hopes to launch a profitable business after the competition, and Chico State alumni are eager to mentor the new graduates in their entrepreneurial ventures.

The Pennsylvania State University — Penn State Wind Energy Club

The team from Penn State comes to this year’s competition with high expectations: their school has claimed the overall winning score in the last two Collegiate Wind Competitions. The large and diverse team, which includes more than 50 students across 17 majors, hopes to leverage both veteran experience and the enthusiasm of the newer recruits. But they’re not just in it to win it. The students are also participating in a Sustainable Marketing Course, where they’re learning how to enhance sustainable behaviors among manufacturers, end users, and society through product design and marketing strategies.

Iowa State University — CyWind Competition 2018

This might be their first competition, but what CyWind lacks in experience, they make up for in passion. The team is eager to present their prototype: a three-bladed, horizontal-axis system that is easy to assemble and store. The small, portable, affordable turbine is intended to replace the portable generators used by RVers and campers.

CyWnd knows they need to hit the ground running to get their team up to speed and compete with the other teams. Their strategy is to divide and conquer, organizing students into five subteams focused on the siting challenge, blades, structure, electrical, and business.  

Virginia Tech — Wind Turbine Team

This team of mostly engineering students believes that wind energy is the future, and many team members plan to work in the field upon graduation. Their strategy is to build a turbine that will maximize its power output and have the lowest cut-in speed, but they also intend to excel in all categories of the competition. Their winning recipe? Experience and dedication. The team has built multiple wind turbines, and each team member is putting in at least five hours of work outside of class to research, design, develop, and test turbine components.

The California State University Maritime Academy — Maritime

Taking advantage of the time-honored relationships between the wind and sea, the Cal Maritime Wind Team is planning a uniquely targeted project: a wind turbine microgrid that can be deployed for use in the offshore aquaculture industry. The team is designing a fixed-pitch, three-bladed, horizontal-axis turbine, simplifying the hub design from previous years to focus on the more extensive electronics tasks of the project. The Cal Maritime team hopes that the microgrid will allow farms to move farther offshore, improving environmental conditions while lowering costs.

“By leveraging the unique maritime expertise that we have at Cal Maritime, we are in an excellent position to capitalize on an emerging market and revolutionize the way the world views fish farming,” says the team.

Texas Tech University — Techsan Wind

When it comes to installed capacity, Texas leads the nation in wind power, so it’s no surprise that many of the Techsan Wind team are seniors majoring in wind energy. Since this is the team’s first competition, they are focusing on strength and durability in the design of their three-bladed, horizontal axis turbine.

The team is taking advantage of Texas Tech’s 3-D printing and controls software and gleaning advice on their technical and business plans from local companies. By building a stable foundation, Techsan Wind hopes to pave the way for future teams.

Meet the rest of the Collegiate Wind Competition 2018 teams.