As the state with the highest percentage of in-state electricity generated from wind, Iowa has plenty of opportunities in wind energy, and many students are interested in seizing these opportunities. Our team is enthusiastic about working in wind energy on a multidisciplinary team that prepares us for a career after the competition and we are determined to make a strong showing this year. No matter the outcome, we are thankful for the opportunity to be involved in such a competition and be granted the experience to work with both the wind energy industry and directly with wind turbines.
This year, our team first concentrated on the lessons we learned last year to improve upon the various aspects of the turbine design that were ineffective or unsuccessful. When we tested our turbine in 2018, we ran into many issues in the mechanical and electrical systems, and those delays impacted how much testing data we were able to collect. To prevent this from happening again, the team built a low-cost open-circuit wind tunnel and is using a prime-mover motor to spin the turbine to test electrical and mechanical components without the use of the university’s wind tunnel. The siting team has been working to improve the wind plant layout created last year using siting software and is beginning a cost analysis of the wind plant.
To increase confidence that our turbine will perform as expected, the team has been using an iterative design process. The team has already found vulnerabilities in the electrical system due to the complexity of combining mechanical, electrical and software components. Although these hurdles can be taxing and costly at times, this process identifies issues early, so they do not happen at the competition.
The makeup of our team with a variety of engineering majors and a balance of upper and lower classmen is a key area of strength for us. Our team has experience in aerospace, civil, construction, electrical, computer, and mechanical engineering, and with a variety of majors and grades represented, we ensure the team will be ready to overcome any obstacle and that we will be ready to compete in future competitions. None of this could be possible without the support the university has given our team and the support from professors and graduate students during the designing and building process.
Our team consists mostly of newcomers and is led by three students returning from last year who occupy the team’s leadership roles. With experience from last year, the returning students are more knowledgeable and comfortable in assigning tasks and acting as leaders for the team. This is key in allowing newcomers to use the first year to learn from the experienced leaders and prepare themselves for leadership roles for future competitions.
Collegiate Wind Competition Objectives
Iowa State’s Collegiate Wind Competition team is out for redemption as we return for our second competition. The team gained lot of experience and feedback from the 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition in Chicago and is determined to improve and be a top competitor this year in Boulder, Colorado.
This webpage was submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy by the team.