For the inaugural U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition, the University of Alaska Fairbanks built a wind-powered energy generation system for people who use small devices for extended periods of time in remote field locations, such as researchers and explorers. The team's model was a lightweight, compact, efficient, and robust design to withstand harsh conditions, such as arctic winters. The team provided potential clients with different models to choose from depending on their power needs. Battery charging devices were also offered for resale. See the entire project portfolio on the team's website or read these sections here: executive summary, business plan, and technical design report.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks team approached its design from the marketing end, identifying the primary customers and their needs. After researching what the market currently offers in the general area, the team designed an improved device with broader functionality. The students utilized state-of-the-art fluid dynamic and mechanical design software to optimize for the design goals. Rapid 3D prototyping was also used to test ideas quickly.
- Sleek, aerodynamic shape, with pivoting generator to face the wind
- Fully sealed nacelle to protect the electrical components of the device in all weather conditions
- Easily swappable blades
- Manual and automatic blade speed control for over-speed protection
- Designed to be quickly and easily compacted down and set back up for ease of travel
From left to right: Shannan Hoyos, Ed Greene, Matthew Staley, Patrick Wade, Nick Janssen, Chic O'Dell, Pryce Brown, Bruce Lee, Wyatt Rehder, Dominic Dionne. Credit: University of Alaska, Fairbanks.