The Kansas State University team focused on two things as they designed and built a small wind turbine for the U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition. First, the students worked to satisfy design requirements, such as cut-in speed, shut-down control, and dimensions, as required by the competition rules. On top of this, they concentrated on turbine marketability. For instance, horizontal axis wind turbines are more efficient than vertical axis wind turbines, but people do not think they are as aesthetically appealing. The team balanced efficiency and marketability tradeoffs to create a product that satisfied a specific market need. See the entire project portfolio on the team's website or read these sections here: executive summary, business plan, and technical design report.
The Kansas State strategy was to work hard, but also to work smart. Because there are hundreds of wind turbine blades in the market, they built on the existing foundation of industry advances. For example, on the mechanical side, it was determined that a full blade redesign was not necessary. The team held weekly meetings to make sure all of the groups were on the same page and for general logistics. Then throughout the rest of the week each sub-team worked on their individual assignments. This strategy allowed the team to get work done very efficiently while utilizing all available resources.
- Vertical axis turbine
- Designed for use with street lamps in coastal cities
- 3D printed blades and structure
From left to right: Aaron Thomsen, Stuart Disberger, Bret Gross, Cody Yost, Joe Kuhn, Lane Yoder, Hussam Alghamdi, Will Duren, Martin Mixon, Ying Huang, Alex Wurtz, Tanzila Ahmed, Armando Marquez. Not pictured: Jordan Robl, Brandon Young, Shae Pelkowski. Credit: Kansas State University.