Virginia Tech students stand on a staircase

Back row, from left: Michael Dragon, Rory Hanley, Elias Bearinger, Colton Miller, Ryan Reed, Spencer Paul, Minh Ngo, Matt Dudon, Jake Shepherd, Zachary Carter, Bruno Saldana
Middle row from left: Ethan LeBoeuf, Ethan Frisch, Cleyton Grinde, Elizabeth Spicer, Katie Clatterbuck, Carly Federman, Adam Wise, Andrew Richard, Kevin Byrnes, Philip Hancock, Alex McLean, Trevor Maco, Chris Miller, Tyler Forbes
Front row, from left: Theresa Nguyen, Erik Wiker, Starla Couso, Leslie Uptegraff, Laura Burger, Alec Labitt, Jacquelyn Noel, Elizabeth Parent, Erin Bender, Albrey de Clerck, Christina Watt   


Virginia Tech's Wind Turbine Team


Our team believes that renewable energy—specifically wind energy—is the future of providing households, businesses, and everything in between reliable and global energy. Unlike coal and oil, wind energy is clean and safe for the environment, which we find critical to the planet. We choose wind because we feel it is going to benefit not only people, but the environment as well, and has a lot of potential that can make it the most effective source of energy. 


We are in the process of building a turbine that will be able to maximize its power output and have the lowest cut-in speed. The team chose a pitch control system based on the research done throughout the semester. The power electronics team decided to use Arduino and a stepper motor in order to regulate the power output. We have started to test our turbine, and hope to iterate on our design several times before the competition.


The game plan is to build a turbine that will excel in all categories of the competition. Our siting team is obtaining vast amounts of knowledge pertaining to the most optimal area for a wind farm. This effort is put in so we can perform our best during the siting challenge.


Our team is composed of all engineering students, a large number of which are majoring in mechanical engineering. We do have a variety of different engineering majors, which is helpful for the various parts of the wind turbine. The team has been together for several years now and has built multiple wind turbines in the past. Some of our team leads also take a capstone class that expand their knowledge on the business aspect of the team. We are made up of dedicated team members that are required to put in a minimum of five hours a week to the team and they do so willingly.


Our team currently has only one member pursuing an undergraduate degree in Business. This gives us a disadvantage for the business plan, but several members are in a capstone seminar that teaches them to think of engineering from more of a business perspective than an engineering perspective. 


The team hopes to gain hands-on experience with renewable energy, as the majority of the team plans on working with wind energy after they graduate from college. Given that, hopefully team members are given more job opportunities because of this experience.


We have various social media platforms where we post updates multiple times a week. 

We plan to host events that invite the community to come see our work on the turbine, including going to schools to talk to younger kids about wind energy and what we do as a team.

Follow Virginia Tech on Facebook and Twitter.

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