Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona
Team NAU chose to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) to help improve the world’s energy portfolio and to find gainful employment in wind energy and other energy sectors.
Team NAU will research, design, and build a turbine for deployment in the high wind environment of Eastern Colorado. Specifically, the team will create:
- An effective mechanical, electrical, and aerodynamic wind turbine and load design that is safe and reliable for testing in an on-site wind tunnel
- A site plan and cost of energy analysis for a 100-MW wind farm in Eastern Colorado.
Approximately 21 NAU students, divided into six subteams, are participating in the CWC through capstone coursework or membership in the NAU Energy Club. Four of these subteams make up the core team: the Mechanical Engineering Turbine subteam, the DC-DC Converter subteam, the Auxiliary Electrical subteam, and the Siting subteam. Other team members are dedicated to dynamometer, data collection, and wind tunnel efforts.
This year will mark the seventh time Team NAU has participated in the CWC. Several of the team’s members had the opportunity to participate in the 2019 CWC, experience firsthand what it takes to compete, and share this insight with the 2020 NAU Team. Another strength is the support the team receives through their coursework and faculty advisors.
Most of Team NAU’s hurdles are logistical—it has been difficult, for instance, to get the entire team together to discuss all design efforts in the same meeting. An additional hurdle is the time it takes to complete competition tasks.
With seven years of competition lessons to draw on, the 2020 team hopes to improve on previous designs while implementing new design ideas and manufacturing techniques.
This content was submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy by the team.