Juracán Energy (JE)
In Puerto Rico, there is a high dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity at high costs. After the collapse of the whole power grid, alternatives to generate electricity are a priority and renewable energy has become a very attractive source. As a team, we decided to use the energy produced by the wind to solve the lack of electrical power in remote communities and their respective water distribution systems. Due to space issues and topography, wind is considered a better alternative than solar photovoltaic systems.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, it was clear that reliable wind turbines should be a priority for the team and would need to resist sustained winds of 155 miles per hour and gusts of up to 201 miles per hour. The design is a horizontal three-bladed wind turbine. It should be capable of self-starting and producing generative power without any external source in case of a catastrophe in the system. It should also be as cost-efective as possible by having components eliminated or a combination of efficient materials.
The strategy has been to implement a systems engineering approach to tackle such a complex and multidisciplinary project. From the beginning, it was established that the team would pursue a wind energy application relevant to Puerto Rico and a site for a wind farm. The initial approach was to assemble a multidisciplinary team within the School of Engineering to search for potential wind energy applications in the island. Once the application was decided, the team was divided into subsystem teams which managed the design of the individual components of the system. The subsystems will be integrated at a later stage in the project along with the fabrication of the prototype for the Collegiate Wind Competition to deliver the final product.
Our main strength came after the disastrous phenomenon that occurred in Puerto Rico with Hurricane Maria: unity. Maria taught us as a team to maintain unity no matter what, amd we realized that we do more as a team than as an individual. The Collegiate Wind Competition has provided us the opportunity to make something that can help our island recover and prepare for any other similar event. We are looking forward to acquiring experience in the development of sustainable energy system.
Our main obstacle is our topographic map, which is not favorable for wind turbines. The areas with more wind velocity are natural reserves or landmarks. Also, there are limitations on the wind velocities (too low) during wind turbine tests in the wind tunnel.
COLLEGIATE WIND COMPETITION OBJECTIVES
The JE Team believes the greatest asset that can be obtained from the Collegiate Wind Competition is the experience of working as an actual business, from the inception of the idea to the process of developing and marketing of a deliverable product. We hope to get involved in the renewable energy industry, build a background for our future, and use the acquired knowledge to better-implement wind energy on the island.
JE is engaging the communities by providing wind turbines and filtration pumps to provide energy and water to these communities. So far we have worked with two communities.
This webpage was submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy by the team.