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The WE Design team of ten engineering students, each wearing orange shirts and standing alongside their wind turbine.

Wind Energy Design Team takes win in Netherlands

July 14, 2022 — 

The Wind Energy Design Team (WE Design) is a student-led design competition team comprised of undergraduate and graduate students from biosystems, civil, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering; all of the five disciplines offered at UM. The team, not unlike many other student teams, provides an opportunity for students to develop professional skills in the designing, manufacturing, and project management of a small-scale wind turbine.

For the first time since the pandemic, the team was able to compete in person this year at the The International Small Wind Turbine Contest (ISWTC) in Delft, Netherlands against eleven other design team from universities across the globe. After days of testing and adjudicating, the team was declared as the first place winners in the “Most Sustainable Design” category. This was a major victory for the team, given all that students have been through over the past two years.

Team Lead, Hunter Waytt, describes what it was like on the first day of testing as “nerve-racking”.

A scale size wind turbine standing in front of the testing tunnel.

We Design’s wind turbine in the testing tunnel at the The International Small Wind Turbine Contest (ISWTC) in Delft, Netherlands.

“Everything goes completely silent in the controls booth as everyone stares intently at the turbine, waiting for any sign of movement. The room hums a little bit with the sound of the wind tunnel starting up in the room over, and nobody… not even the judges or competition organizers can take their eyes off this thing. And that’s when it happens… in a split millisecond the turbine does one full rotation. Two rotations. Before you know it, everyone has moved their focus onto one another, cheering and celebrating a successfully built prototype.”

Waytt credits the hard work of his teammates, advisors and the generosity of sponsors with this team success at competition. 

“We compete against teams led by graduate students and professors with years of experience in the field,” said Waytt. “This was all made possible by the tremendous amount of support we received from our University and a few key companies who nudged us in the right direction this year. To pull off a victory in the face of these brilliant competitors is completely surreal what you can accomplish when you dedicate yourself to a cause you believe in”.

Back only a few weeks from across the pond, the team is already looking forward to next year, hoping to capitalize again on their skills and talents. The Price Faculty of Engineering congratulates the WE Design Team on this exceptional win. 

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