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Targum spotlight: RU Wind participates in national Collegiate Wind Competition

Rutgers' collegiate wind team,  RU Wind, participated in the national Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) for the first time since it was created in 2014.  – Photo by Courtesy of RU Wind

Rutgers’ collegiate wind team, RU Wind, recently competed in the 2023 Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC) among 30 other universities that blueprinted, built and trialed wind turbines, according to a press release.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory formed the competition in 2014 to spark innovation in wind energy and engage undergraduates from all majors in wind power, according to its website.

Nathaniel Greengart, a School of Arts and Sciences senior and leader of RU Wind, said in an interview with the Rutgers School of Engineering that the team is composed of undergraduate students in disciplines ranging from electrical engineering to political science, all competing for the first time under Rutgers' name.

"It’s an honor and a challenge to be selected for the CWC," Greengart said. "It’s an honor to compete against schools that have been doing this for years, but it will be a challenge to get ourselves up to speed as a first-time team."

The CWC prepares undergraduate students to enter the wind energy industry by working with advanced technology, creating proposals, addressing technical challenges and networking with professionals within the workforce, according to its website.

Greengart said that the competition has three sections and there are multiple teams within RU Wind to compete in each of them. The first subteam, called Connection Creations, analyzes public engagement and ways to advertise.

The subsequent teams within RU Wind, the Turbine Design subteam and the Project Development subteam, help test the turbine and evaluate the effectiveness of their project, respectively.

The team looks toward the future in all aspects of creation and hopes students understand this push toward renewable energy, Greengart said.

"Green energy is the future, environmentally and economically, and it’s important for college students both to get excited about it and to build skills necessary to work in the industry," he said.

Andon Bury-Longino, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore and the Connection Creation subteam’s leader, said that he was apprehensive about his involvement in the competition given his lack of prior background.

"I was nervous about 'flying blind,' since I had no experience doing this sort of thing," he said. "Thankfully, everybody is super helpful and accepting, and we were able to learn and improve as we went."

The CWC has two phases, with the first occurring in the fall and the second occurring in the spring, according to the rules website. Select teams from the first phase will be chosen to advance to the second phase.

In the first phase, 30 university teams create a design for their wind turbine prototype and wind farm. They also interview individuals working in the wind industry to learn about career development, according to the website.

In the second phase, selected teams will finalize their designs for their prototypes. Awards are distributed by the point total determined by judges for the three competition sections.

The DOE announced on Wednesday that RU Wind would be competing until the end of the spring. While RU Wind did not advance to phase two of the competition, the CWC extended invitations to those who did not advance into the second phase to participate as observing teams.

These teams were welcomed to use the competition’s resources to continue their progress in addressing challenges and developing skills that are applicable in the wind industry, according to the website.

Bury-Longino said that participating in the first phase of the competition was invigorating.

"Regardless of how far we got in the competition, this learning experience would be invaluable," he said. "We can always use what we learned from this competition toward anything in our own lives and future competitions the team may participate in."

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