The University of New Orleans is among 32 teams selected nationwide to compete in the 2024 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) that’s sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE announced the selections on July 20.
The CWC, which first launched in 2014, helps prepare the future wind energy workforce by inviting college students from a range of disciplines to represent their schools as they design, build and test a prototype wind turbine; develop a site plan and cost-of-energy analysis for a hypothetical wind farm; and conduct outreach with the wind energy industry, their communities and local media outlets.
“We are competing with some of the best schools in the country for this competition,” said Shafin Khan, vice president of external affairs and innovation at The Beach at UNO. “And we are the only team from the Southeast U.S.”
UNO’s team, under the direction of naval architecture and marine engineering professor Vincent Yu, currently includes four engineering and two business students, said Khan. Additional students will be recruited to round out the interdisciplinary team, he said.
“We also have a variety of industry mentors that will guide the team through this competition,“ Khan said. “We are excited to watch this team grow and become a source for future workforce and innovators in clean energy in our region.”
The 2024 CWC will focus on siting, outreach and development challenges associated with fixed-bottom offshore wind energy projects. From September to January, teams will develop a preliminary design and report for their prototype wind turbine and a preliminary site design for their hypothetical offshore wind farm.
The teams will also create an outreach strategy which may include, for example, interviewing professionals from different wind industry sectors to learn about career opportunities and/or creating outreach materials to educate and inspire younger students.
The first round of teams will receive $2,000 in funding, which they can use to begin designing their prototype wind turbines, creating their wind energy project development plans, and developing their outreach strategies.
By early 2024, the competition organizers will use a performance-based selection process to narrow the competition to, at most, 12 final teams. These finalist teams will be invited to continue to participate in the CWC during the second half of the school year (January–May 2024) and will be awarded $15,000 to complete their projects, which includes building their prototype wind turbine. The finalist teams will also be invited to test their prototype turbine in an onsite wind tunnel and present their work at the CWC final event, where they will be eligible for prize funding from a $30,000 prize pool.
Teams not selected as finalists will be invited to continue as learn-along teams, which offers teams the option to participate in remaining CWC activities and attend the final event for the purpose of deepening their knowledge of wind energy.
The CWC is funded by DOE’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
In addition to the University of New Orleans, the first round of college and university teams selected to participate in the 2024 Collegiate Wind Competition include Johns Hopkins, MIT, Penn State, Rutgers, UCLA and Michigan.