Penn State selected for 2016 Collegiate Wind Competition

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has selected Penn State to be one of 12 colleges that will compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Collegiate Wind Competition 2016.

The event challenges teams of undergraduate students to design and build a model wind turbine based on market research and siting considerations, develop a business plan to market their products and test their turbines against a set of rigorous performance criteria.

Collegiate Wind Competition 2016 will take place at the annual American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 23 to 26.

“The official rules and requirements for the 2016 competition won’t come out until the summer, so we won’t begin our official planning likely until the fall semester,” said team leader Susan Stewart, research associate in aerospace engineering and architectural engineering. “What we do know is that this competition will involve constructing a way to visualize the power output from the turbine under test in the wind tunnel.”

This will be Stewart’s second year advising a student team at the Collegiate Wind Competition. In 2014, she led Penn State to a harrowingly dramatic win. At that event, the inaugural version for the DOE, 10 institutions competed at the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Nevada. During a practice run one day before the main event, the Penn State team watched in horror as their rotor dislodged from their turbine, shattering their 3D printed blades to pieces. 

With less than 24 hours before the start of the competition, the team found a Los Angeles branch of the 3D printing company they had originally used that could quickly print a set of new blades. The team went on to take first place. 

The whole experience just reinforced my pride in being a Penn Stater, said Stewart. “Even if we hadn’t pulled off the win, it was still an amazing event with a great group of teams and we truly learned a lot. I look forward to doing it again with a new batch of students.” 

Last Updated February 26, 2015