Wind Power Competition Draws Student Teams

When Bill Pannell was considering how to redesign a windmill used for military operations in Afghanistan, he never thought his idea would start a statewide competition among high school and collegiate students.

Pannell oversees the energy lab at the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center within the System Simulation and Development Directorate.

“I have a small Army windmill that puts out about 300 watts of electricity in high winds, but not much in low winds. So, the idea is to have students design and build better windmill blades, to create more electricity in low winds,” he said. “I call it Switch Blade because the students will switch out the Army windmill blades with their blades, then compete in a wind tunnel test. We will measure who produces the most power/energy within three minutes.”

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