The California State University Maritime Academy team photo

From left: Dr. Evan Chang-Siu, Dr. Tom Nordenholz, Zachary Thomas, Darlene Conolly, Adam Olm, Daniel Neumaier, Dylan Sanchez, Stefano Maffei, Bart Tammaro, Joseph Phillips, Jonah Grier, Dr. Tony Lewis, Matthew Leli, Quentin Williams




We are The California State University Maritime Academy! Since the beginning of civilization, the marriage between wind power and the sea has been a ubiquitous driver of human innovation. Today, wind energy has the potential to be just as valuable to the well-being of the earth and humanity. As we shift towards renewable energy options, wind will prove to be an important resource to aid in the fight against climate change. In order to enable further growth of the wind energy industry, a diverse range of skills are needed. So as a team of engineering, business and policy students, we are enthusiastic about learning about this dynamic field.


Simplifying our hub design from previous years in order to focus on the more extensive electronics tasks of the project, we will be utilizing a fixed-pitch wind turbine this year. We believe we can maximize and limit power output by solely controlling the output power electronics, without the utilization of variable pitch. Our power electronics will consist of a full-wave rectifier and a DC/DC converter to control maximum power point and rated power. In terms of blade design, our aerodynamics team has been hard at work to develop and an optimized three-blade, horizontal axis turbine, and one that can be controlled smoothly using stall control.


We are hard at work designing a wind turbine microgrid that can be deployed for use in the offshore aquaculture industry. We hope that our microgrid will allow farms to move farther offshore, improve environmental conditions, and lower cost. By leveraging the unique maritime expertise that we have at Cal Maritime, we are in an excellent positon to capitalize on an emerging market and revolutionize the way the world views fish farming.


As a small campus, we have the advantage of utilizing our tight-knit community to foster efficient communication and collaboration. Our maritime expertise and unique industry resources position us well to pursue a marine-related business venture, and our engineering programs offer its students extensive, hand-on engineering skills. Likewise, our campus is located in an area with a long history of wind development and plenty of industry resources to reach to for feedback on our team’s work. Lastly, we have four years of experience participating in this competition.


A small school also has its disadvantages. This includes a lack of resources such as university funding, lack of an electrical engineering department, and a small student body to draw members from. In terms of the siting challenge, we are geographically tucked between the Pacific Ocean, densely populated urban development, and several large, preexisting wind turbine farms.


More than anything, we hope to produce a business plan and turbine that is innovative and brings wind energy into a wider array of applications. As this competition provides an introduction to the wind and alternative energy industries, we would like to leverage this experience in order to aid us in pursuing future careers in these fields.


We have organized a group of local industry experts, Cal Maritime Collegiate Wind Competition alumni, and faculty to advise us on the project and participate in social activities. We held a dinner banquet in the fall semester and plan to host another in the spring. We also toured Principle Power, which designs large-scale, semi-submersible, floating wind turbine platforms, in November. Finally, we are holding a KidWind Challenge on our campus in February.

Visit Cal Maritime's website.

This webpage was submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy by the team.