Wind Turbine Team
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
The Wind Turbine Team at Virginia Tech sees offshore wind energy as a solution to the climate crisis and recognizes the critical role young engineers will play in the growth of renewable energy. Therefore, we are participating in the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) to ensure the advancement of renewable energy, bolster students’ relevant technical skills, and connect with wind industry members.
We have participated in the CWC since 2018. We won the Connection Creation Contest in 2021, second place in 2019, and the Technical Design Award in 2018. Our team has established an organizational structure that emphasizes cooperation, considers technical application, and offers leadership positions to ensure the transfer of critical knowledge. Our team’s structure includes project managers who facilitate team collaboration, plan outreach and networking activities, and create testing plans; a communications/social media chair who manages our social media accounts, budget, and merchandise; and subteam leads who lead the areas of focus (aerodynamics, mechanical subsystems, power systems and controls, and siting and business. Students are assigned to areas of focus based on their disciplines.
To succeed in the CWC, our team will implement technical and business insights gleaned from members of the wind energy industry. We have already connected with a variety of such contacts, including CEOs and engineers at offshore wind energy companies, to learn about industry practices, potential careers, and the importance of using networks as a resource. Our conversations with these professionals have provided suggestions for the competition based on real-world experience and encouraged us to focus on design ideas and unfamiliar processes/terms.
Additionally, we will test all our wind turbine components early and often to “fail fast and learn quickly.”