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Kansas State University again selected for Collegiate Wind Competition

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MANHATTAN — The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Kansas State University to compete at its 2016 Collegiate Wind Competition, a biennial event. The university also participated in the inaugural competition in 2014.

The event will be May 23-26, 2016, at the annual American Wind Energy Association's WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kansas State University is the only school from Kansas and from the Big 12 Conference selected to participate.

The competition challenges undergraduate student teams from two- or four-year institutions of higher education to design and build a model wind turbine based on market research and siting considerations. In a change from 2014, the 2016 theme will involve design and construction of a wind-driven power system to supply electricity to a non-grid connected device or devices for off-grid applications. Along with building a turbine, teams have to develop a business plan to market their products and test their turbines against a set of performance criteria.

Selection of competition teams was through a proposal submission to the Department of Energy, with the selected teams receiving $20,000 each to construct their turbine and to send team members to the competition.  Schools of the selected teams are required to incorporate aspects of wind energy and the wind industry into their curriculum and support their team with matching funds — a standard practice by the Kansas State University College of Engineering with its competition teams.

The Kansas State University team's faculty advisers, Ruth Douglas Miller, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Warren White, associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, think the design experience from the 2014 event and an upcoming competition will further strengthen the team for the 2016 contest.

The university's team will compete at an event April 29-May 1 in Boulder, Colorado, that is a shortened form of the 2014 DOE competition. It involves only those teams from 2014 that wanted to continue design work in the off year between the biennial competitions.

"The Wildcat Wind Power team will test its turbine in the wind tunnel at the National Renewable Energy Lab's National Wind Test Center in Boulder," Miller said. "The team also will test a turbine designed collaboratively with Northern Arizona University, and give a presentation on technical aspects of the K-State design. In addition, team members attending will have the opportunity to tour the National Wind Test Center, where the competition takes place."

Because of space limitations at the National Wind Test Center, only five of the team members will attend the Boulder competition. Miller said the five students selected will be from the electrical team, senior mechanical team and junior mechanical team.

"It will be important to have design expertise on hand and also to send members to gain experience for next year," she said.

The following students are members of the 2015-2016 the Wildcat Wind Power Team:

Michael Banowetz, senior in electrical engineering, Altamont; Nick Utt, senior in mechanical engineering, Arkansas City; Joe Tillman, senior in electrical engineering, Columbus; Armando Marquez, senior in electrical engineering, Dodge City; and Tanzila Ahmed, senior in electrical engineering, Garden City.

From Greater Kansas City: Thomas Umscheid, senior in mechanical engineering, Kansas City; Lee Evans, senior in mechanical engineering, Lenexa; Tim Sample, senior in electrical engineering, Olathe; and Aaron Akin, junior in biological systems engineering, Shawnee.

Steve Debes, senior in electrical engineering, Hays; Peter Jensen, junior in electrical engineering, Hesston; Tanner Lott, senior in mechanical engineering, Lindsborg; Josh Loyd, senior in electrical engineering, and Shane Smith, senior in mechanical engineering, both from Manhattan; Aaron Mason, junior in mechanical engineering, and David Plenert, senior in electrical engineering, both from McPherson; James Remley, senior in electrical engineering, Miltonvale; Justin Currence, senior in mechanical engineering, Topeka; and Lawryn Edmonds, junior in electrical engineering, Valley Falls.

From out of state: Hayden Thull, senior in mechanical engineering, Clarkdale, Arizona; John Annan, senior in mechanical engineering, Orlando, Florida; and Jake Meyer, freshman in electrical engineering, Mound City, Missouri.

Kansas State University is home to the Kansas Wind Applications Center, which has a mission to educate electrical engineers on the basics of wind energy, and to be a source of information on wind energy for the people of Kansas who want to harvest wind power for the benefit of themselves, their children and the state. The center offers a variety of programs, including Wind for Schools, which helps rural school districts install wind turbines for use in education, and to encourage incorporation of renewable energy education into the K-12 science curriculum.


Ruth Douglas Miller


Wildcat Wind Power team

News tip

Altamont, Arkansas City, Columbus, Dodge City, Garden City, Hays, Hesston, Kansas City, Lenexa, Lindsborg, Manhattan, McPherson, Miltonvale, Olathe, Shawnee, Topeka and Valley Falls, Kansas; Clarkdale, Arizona; Orlando, Florida; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Written by

Beth Bohn

At a glance

Kansas State University has been selected to compete in the 2016 Collegiate Wind Competition. The university also was chosen for the inaugural competition, a biennial event, in 2014