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Developing and Promoting Renewable Energy on Stanford's Campus

By Mathias Craig - On the weekend of April 23rd and 24th, blueEnergy hosted a wind turbine building workshop at Stanford University. The workshop was organized in conjunction with the Stanford Solar and Wind Energy Project (SWEP). SWEP is a student led organization with the mission of "Developing and Promoting Renewable Energy on and near Stanford's Campus" and 18 of its members participated in the workshop. Helping make the workshop a reality was Phil Homer, a blueEnergy alum who volunteered in Nicaragua for 6 months in 2010 with the wind turbine team and is now a graduate student in the Atmosphere and Energy Program at Stanford.

Mathias explains the woodworking tools

Making up the blueEnergy team were Christian Casillas, Lizzie Reisman, Julie Karel, Peter Lawrence and myself. The workshop opened with an extensive safety training by the Teaching Assistant for the Model Shop (the location of our workshop). I followed this up with by a brief presentation on the design of Piggott-class turbines, before we split up into groups and got busy with our hands.

The workshop consisted of several stations including blade carving, coil winding, stator casting, magnet placement and assembly. Students were free to chose the work that most interested them and many rotated between stations. The goal of the workshop was to learn about locally produceable small-scale wind turbines and to nearly complete a wind turbine for SWEP to have on hand for experimentation and a possible installation in the future. In order to achieve this in such a short time-frame, we had all the metal work pre-done. Unfortunately, after the close of the workshop on Saturday, there was a small fire that damaged the shop's table saw, some of blueEnergy's tools and some of the turbine's hardware (no one was hurt). This created some obvious setbacks, but we adapted on Sunday and worked out in the breezeway and got close to our initial goal. A blueEnergy team will return to the Stanford campus in May for a half-day work session to complete the planned work.

blueEnergy Board member Matt Flannery makes a guest appearance and helps carve a blade

We are grateful to Stanford and SWEP for giving us the opportunity to teach this workshop and hope to be back on campus for another one in the near future.

Workshop participants

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