Team members are participating in this competition for a multitude of reasons. Some students are participating for the hands-on learning of designing a working turbine model. Other students are participating because they are passionate about renewable energy and are looking for networking opportunities because they want to pursue future careers in the industry. Other students are participating for the interdisciplinary experience of working on a cross-functional team of both engineering and business students, which reflects what working in the real world will be like.
The team's turbine entry is a horizontal-axis wind turbine with passive flow augmentation and blade pitching designed to enhance cut-in speed and power production. The turbine is engineered for the needs of an agricultural market in developing countries for which safety, reliability, and low cost are the primary guiding needs.
The team’s technical prototype strategy is to partner proven turbine technology with the team’s own innovations to create a turbine that maximizes performance in the competition. On the business side, the team is targeting a market that has limited access to, but a large need for, electricity that provides environmental conditions suitable for wind energy capture. The experience derived from the technical prototype and requirements determined by customer needs will be used to develop a deployable wind energy solution.
The team's greatest strengths is the diverse set of skills and experiences that each member brings to the team. In addition, the team has a lot of guidance from faculty and graduate students who have previous experience with design competitions. The university's existing resources—such as advanced manufacturing facilities and wind tunnels—are also an important key to the team's success.
The greatest challenge lies in finding a feasible market to deploy the team’s product. From there, they will be able to easily research risk mitigation and financial analysis. However, creating an innovative, creative, and original plan may prove difficult as well. This contest poses the most difficulty for the team, because it requires extensive and careful research of a number of different points involving successful market entry, including business environment, economics, politics, current events, natural phenomena, culture, and values.
The contest challenges the team to analyze all components of a turbine as a system. Additionally, designing a wind turbine that successfully balances the team’s business and design objectives is likely to prove tricky.
The team must carefully evaluate their intended project site to ensure they have selected a feasible location. Team members must properly identify major stakeholders and write well-researched strategies for communicating with them, along with a deployment timeline and project life cycle identification. This particular contest aligns with the team’s strategy and design strengths, as their academic background trains them to create cohesiveness between aspects of a multi-dimensional project.
Turbine Performance Testing
The Turbine Performance Testing contest challenges the team to use their manufacturing skills to implement the Technical Design. The biggest challenge for this component is to complete the design early enough to test and perform design iterations.
The Bonus Challenge involves effectively conveying the productive value of the turbine and understanding when the turbine is consuming power and producing varying levels of power. The team believes success in meeting this challenge will come in combining both art and information. The team’s strengths in innovative and artful design will prove beneficial in meeting this challenge.
Team members can learn invaluable lessons about teamwork, gain real experience working in their fields of interest, and network with professionals in the wind industry. The interdisciplinary nature of the project ensures that students work across majors and bring engineering, business, and atmospheric knowledge into one project to create the best possible wind turbine and business plan. Thanks to the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition 2016, team members are able to take the concepts they learn in class and apply them to a real-world situation. Furthermore, all team members look forward to learning more about wind energy at the competition, as well as meeting students from other schools who share a passion for wind energy.