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UW Selected for Department of Energy’s Collegiate Wind Competition

The University of Wyoming is among 30 colleges and universities selected to participate in Phase 1 of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2023 Collegiate Wind Competition.

The teams are participating in the competition during the first half of the 2022-23 school year. This is the first time UW has competed. The UW team has received notice that the $3,200 it requested for Phase 1 has been approved.

UW’s application effort was led by Associate Professor Michael Stoellinger, in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences’ Department of Mechanical and Energy Systems Engineering, with strong support provided by the Department of Mechanical and Energy Systems Engineering; the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management; the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources; the College of Business; and the Power Company of Wyoming LLC.

Similar to the 2022 Collegiate Wind Competition, the 2023 competition focuses on the theme of siting, outreach and development challenges associated with fixed-bottom offshore wind energy projects.

“I was super excited when I learned that our application had been accepted,” Stoellinger says. “We will compete in all three contests: wind farm siting, wind turbine prototype and community outreach. Having students and faculty on the team from the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources makes the contests a very realistic experience for the students, since both disciplines are required for successful wind project development. I hope that UW’s unique expertise in interdisciplinary engagement will give us a competitive advantage.”

The Collegiate Wind Competition, 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.

During Phase 1, 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 funding secured in Phase 1 can be used by the teams to design their technologies, create their wind energy project development plans and conduct outreach activities.

By early 2023, the competition organizers will use a performance-based selection process to narrow the Phase 1 teams to up to 12 final selections. These teams will be invited to participate in Phase 2 of the competition during the second half of the school year and to present their work at the American Clean Power Association’s CLEANPOWER Conference and Exhibition in May 2023.

“I’m super excited for the opportunity to compete in the Collegiate Wind Competition and get real-world experience working in the wind industry. The networking opportunities provided through the competition are excellent, whether through making it to Phase 2 or competing in their connection creation contest,” says student leader Jonathan Katchmar, a senior from Cheyenne who is working toward creating a Collegiate Wind Competition student organization on campus. “The quality and diversity of the team we have put together for the competitions are outstanding, and I’m really excited to see how UW can progress in future years of the competition. The competition is outstanding in the way it makes you learn for yourself but gives you excellent resources in the way of funding and experts to answer questions.”

Students participating in the competition are a mix of mechanical engineering, energy systems engineering, electrical engineering and computer engineering students, who will compete as part of their yearlong capstone design course. Other students may participate in the competition as part of other programs offering course credit for their students through special topics courses.

The senior design students taking part, listed by hometown, are:

Cheyenne — Jonathan Katchmar.

Elizabeth, Colo. — Alia White.

Gillette — Davis Cathey.

Jackson — Yihan Zhao.

Laramie — Sam Dang.

Larkspur, Colo. — Virginia Sullivan.

Rapid City, S.D. — Noah Simonson.

Rock Springs — Ivin Tardoni.

Sheridan — Kirby Coe-Kirkham.

Thornton, Colo. — Piper Morris.

The Collegiate Wind Competition is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

To learn more about the UW Department of Mechanical and Energy Systems Engineering, visit www.uwyo.edu/mechanical/.