When it comes to creating new wind turbines, there's no reason to restrict the field to those with degrees or even the right to vote, as a design challenge this week in Atlanta proves. The KidWind Challenge, taking place today and tomorrow, is a chance for middle and high school students to create their own turbines and have them judged by professional engineers and a wind tunnel.
The free event is part of the Wind Power 2012 conference and exhibition this week, and is hosted by KidWind and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Teams of students (from fourth to ninth graders) work to design and construct original, four foot high, turbines from scratch.Each turbine is then put to the test in KidWind's portable wind tunnel. Unsurprisingly, not all of them survive, making for, as the promotional video below notes, some "exciting failures". Those that make it are in the running for first, second and third place awards for turbine performance; there is also a judges choice award.
While it's unlikely that the KidWind Challenge will produce a turbine that will revolutionize the industry, it will certainly foster the interest and talent of a generation of engineers and designers who will play a huge role in making wind power more viable and efficient in years to come.