Northern Arizona University

    Project Description

    The micro wind turbine that the Northern Arizona University (NAU) team designed for the U.S. Department of Energy's Collegiate Wind Competition aimed to provide necessary power in times of post-natural disaster relief. Natural disasters, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, tend to impact areas where there is typically a strong wind resource. When a natural disaster hits, citizens can lose power and be left without supplies and transportation. An easy-to-assemble wind turbine has the potential to provide power for impacted people during the recovery phase. See the entire project portfolio on the team's website or read these sections here: executive summarybusiness plan, and technical design report.

    Team Strategy

    The NAU team developed a business plan to produce a reliable and efficient wind turbine that would result in 50% profit margin. The team strategy was to organize itself as a company, electing a technical leader, project manager, secretary, and other specialists. These positions all worked together to make sure the design met the standards of the business plan. The post-natural disaster market for the company's turbine proved to be feasible with the amount of wind resource that comes after such events. Relief agencies like the National Emergency Response Team, State National Guard, FEMA, Relief International, National Guard, military, police, and fire fighters could benefit from having access to a small wind generating system.

    Design Features

    • Downwind design
    • Three-bladed system
    • Lightweight aluminum hub and tower design
    • Metal gears in gearbox for decreased wear on the gear teeth
    • State-of-the-art braking system
    • Betz-optimized blade shape profile
    • Compatible with multiple electronic devices

    Team Photo

    Photo of the Northern Arizona University team.

    Pictured: Torey Schreiner, Mariflor Caronan, Ian Mason, Andrew Hoffman, Jonathan Pepper, Carlos Tarango, Chris Feyen, Stephen Kuluris, Jared Parks, Nathan Croswell, Devon Martindale, Kyle Yates, Anna Manning, Kenny Saxer, Norman Khoo, Charles Burge, Melissa Head, Chris Bozworth, Gabriel O'Reilly, Lukas Loehr, Kelsey Morales, Ashley Jerome, Frank Spitznogle, Karin Wadsack, and David Willy. Credit: MIWhittakerPhotos