Wind Gang, a team of four high school students from Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka recently won first place for highest power output in the 2013 Alaska KidWind Design Challenge.
The challenge is an Alaska-specific statewide competition that challenges students to use innovation, teamwork and creativity to design a wind turbine to produce electricity. The team produced 19,052 milliwatts of electricity, topping other competitors from throughout the state.
Team Turbine, four students from Angoon High School in southeast Alaska, was awarded an honorable mention for “Best Application for Rural Alaska.” While the competition is geared toward high power output, this special category was added by judges who were impressed with Team Turbine’s consistent output of 781 milliwatts, which remained stable for the 60-second duration of the test, a notable difference from the variable power output more commonly seen in the competition.
“The enthusiasm and ingenuity of the students is inspiring,” said Amy Rath, education specialist and KidWind Challenge judge at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Alaska Center for Energy and Power, which runs the competition. “Watching them in action and listening as they describe the design and construction process, I witnessed the power of experiential learning through the building, testing and rebuilding of their turbines and corresponding presentations.”
The Alaska KidWind Design Challenge is an educational competition focused toward the needs and logistical challenges of reaching rural Alaska. In this statewide competition, students work in teams to design and construct a model wind turbine. Teams first design a base, then after conducting a little research and sketching a few drafts, students determine the size, shape, material and number of blades to create. The ultimate design goal is to maximize the efficiency of their turbine.
“This year’s competition was a wonderful example of Alaska’s youth showing their ‘sourdough ingenuity.’ Each school showed their understanding of energy and power projects and how they are applied in their respective rural communities,” said ACEP research technician and KidWind Challenge judge Kirk Hardcastle. “Their dynamic understanding of how wind works is impressive. It is an inspiration to know that Alaska’s future energy solutions lie in their capable minds and hands.”
The winning teams have been invited to attend the Rural Energy Conference in Anchorage on April 29 to present their wind turbine design to a professional audience. During the conference session, the winning teams will be presented with a 2013 Alaska KidWind Challenge trophy and KidWind T-shirts for each team member in recognition of their achievement. All participating students in the 2013 Challenge will receive certificates recognizing their participation and hard work.
Schools from Angoon, Sitka, Fairbanks and Napaskiak competed in the official statewide challenge, while schools in Kenai, Gustavus, and Anchorage participated in their own in-school competitions.