Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

First-Ever Collegiate Turbine Competition to Hit Annual Wind Industry Conference

Business
First-Ever Collegiate Turbine Competition to Hit Annual Wind Industry Conference

When the U.S. wind industry brings its signature conference to Las Vegas in May, companies and researchers will be accompanied by the nation's next generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced its first-ever  Collegiate Wind Competition, set for May 5 to 7, during three of the same days as the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) annual WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition. The competition will feature teams from 10 universities who will design and construct light, portable wind turbines capable of powering small electronic devices.

James Madison University student Greg Miller demonstrates how the blades of a wind turbine work as part the Wind for Schools project. JMU is one of 10 universities that will compete in the first-ever U.S. Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition. Photo credit: Virginia Center for Wind Energy

"Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing electricity sources in the U.S.," said Jose Zayas, director of DOE’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office. "The Collegiate Wind Competition is designed to expose students to the  multi-disciplinary nature of the wind industry and give them an opportunity to engage with industry leaders."

After constructing their turbines, the teams will make presentations to a panel with expertise on market drivers and wind energy deployment. The students will pitch business plans to industry leaders, and test their turbines in an on-site wind tunnel.

Each of the 10 universities participated in a larger competition to reach this stage. Here are the 10 finalists headed to Las Vegas:

  • Boise State University
  • California Maritime Academy
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • James Madison University (VA)
  • Kansas State University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Penn State University
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell 

In addition to receiving recognition for their school, the winning team will ship its turbine to Washington D.C., where it will be featured at the DOE’s headquarters.

"We’re excited to partner with DOE to host this exciting event," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. "Bringing the Collegiate Wind Competition to WINDPOWER will provide unparalleled opportunities for students to interact with leaders in wind energy and give our industry a chance to meet and engage with some of the nation’s best and brightest young people."

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This image of the Santa Monica Mountains in California shows how a north-facing slope (left) can be covered in white-blooming hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), while the south-facing slope (right) is much less sparsely covered in a completely different plant. Noah Elhardt / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.5

By Mark Mancini

If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.

Read More Show Less
Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Hughes, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.

Read More Show Less
Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

Read More Show Less

A film by Felix Nuhr.

Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

Read More Show Less
Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Aerial view of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, where a new soil study was held, on Sept. 11, 2019. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP via Getty Images

One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods speaks during a press conference after a shooting at Forest High School on April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Florida. Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A sheriff in Florida is under fire for deciding Tuesday to ban his deputies from wearing face masks while on the job—ignoring the advice of public health experts about the safety measures that everyone should take during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the rising Covid-19 death toll in his county and state.

Read More Show Less