The Wind Power team, a group of mechanical engineering MEng students collaborating on a capstone project, has been awarded the Fung Institute Mission Award. This award, chosen by the Fung Institute staff, is given to the team that best exemplifies the mission of the institute, “transforming scientists into leaders who can take risks and develop technical, social and economic innovations.” For the past three years, teams of MEng students have been working with county officials to devise a new, efficient wind turbine that would meet Marin’s regulations and create a local and sustainable renewable energy source. The Wind Power team members, Austin Campbell, Ali Elashri, Erica Horton and Chahal Neema, have been working with ME Professors Alice Agogino and Philip Marcus, and with industry advisor Tom Flynn from the Claremont-based company California Energy and Power, to design a low-slung turbine that operates vertically, rather than horizontally. Not only does their design spare the birds, but it operates with less noise and is better adapted to turbulent erratic wind flow. The design is also modular, so it can be stacked in towers larger than are currently permitted in Marin.
Congratulations to the Wind Power team!