The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently issued a Request for Proposals seeking teams of students to participate in the 2016 U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition.
First held in 2014 at the American Wind Energy Association Annual Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, the Collegiate Wind Competition challenges teams to design a wind-driven system based on market research, develop a business plan to market the product, build and test the system against set requirements, and demonstrate knowledge of current and emerging issues facing the wind industry. This interdisciplinary Competition brings together students in engineering, business, marketing, communications, policy, and social science fields in order to engage the future workforce in broad and unique aspects of wind energy. The competition is open to undergraduate students from two and four year institutions of higher education.
Central to the theme of the 2016 competition is an overall mechanical and aerodynamic design that allows for the safe and efficient control of the power system throughout testing in the competition wind tunnel. While the electricity produced by each team’s device will be uniformly measured, each team may visually represent the power being generated by its turbine through a creative mechanism of its choosing.
Students develop their project throughout the academic year and come together in the spring to compete in three multi-faceted contests. The technical element of the Competition requires teams to design and build a wind turbine, and test the turbine against pre-determined criteria in an on-site wind tunnel. The second element of the Competition is the creation and presentation of a business plan that will be used to market each team’s wind power system. Teams will present their business plans to a panel of judges and a public audience. The third element of the Competition aims to familiarize students with the siting, permitting, and planning process associated with the deployment of wind power systems. Teams will identify an installation site for their power system and develop a plan to install their system, taking into account siting constraints while developing innovative solutions to typical installation challenges. Winning teams in each contest receive awards, and the team with the best overall score will have its wind-driven power system displayed at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Collegiate Wind Competition enables DOE to support innovative and forward-thinking educational institutions with expertise in renewable energy technologies, helping to foster the growth of the future wind energy industry and workforce. This competition gives participating institutions an opportunity to showcase technical and professional capabilities as well as student ingenuity.
The Request for Proposals is available on the Federal Business Opportunities website, solicitation number RFC-5-52004. Proposals are due December 15, 2014.