CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Holding the title of the “third windiest city in the nation,” Corpus Christi can be seen as a goldmine for projects that test the boundaries of wind-powered alternative energy sources. Under the guidance of Dr. Petru-Aurelian Simionescu, Associate Professor of Engineering, students in the College of Science and Engineering (COSE) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have developed an original wind turbine design, that is more cost effective and likely more efficient.
“This is not a project that can be completed and perfected in just one semester,” said Simionescu. “Along with the group of students working to analyze the performance of the turbines, we have involved multiple resources and we’re still not done.”
This project was originally designed in 2013 as a Capstone Project. Since then, the project has continued as interest in renewable energy grows. The newest design for the turbines were presented by several Island University students during the 2016 Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium held Oct. 22 at Rice University.
“The symposium was a great exposure to what engineering students are working on at other campuses,” said Wesley Horadam, senior mechanical engineering major. “It’s amazing to see how cutting-edge technology is being developed. It was also a great networking experience and an opportunity to show off what we’re working on here at the Island University.”
The next step for the COSE and undergraduate students involved will be to revise the turbine’s design based on recently collected data which revealed positive and proficient results for energy creation. Students like Horadam will also be able to use this experience as a way to increase awareness of the importance of renewable energy sources and their role in the Coastal Bend.
“The uniqueness of this design allows us to conduct continuous research when it comes to wind speed, blade arrangement and many other variables,” said Simionescu. “While not obvious to an outside observer, this is truly a complex endeavor.”
Over the last three years, Simionescu has received support from Texas Research and Development Fund which provided $32,000 in financial assistance and the National Institute for Research & Development in Electrical Engineering ICPE-CA in Burecharest, Romania. Local companies that provided technical services with this project include C-D Electric, Eagle Machine and Protective Powder Coating.