Iowa State selected for 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition

The 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition will be held in Chicago.

Iowa State was one of 12 universities selected to compete in the 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Held during the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, May 7-10, the Collegiate Wind Competition requires students to build a model wind turbine and develop a business and deployment plan for their turbine prototype. The turbines will be tested in a wind tunnel and judged by a panel of wind industry leaders to determine the winning university.

Iowa State will be competing in the competition for the first time after Juana Castelli, a Junior AerE major from Argentina, saw the 2016 competition and decided it was something she wanted to pursue.

“I went to the 2016 event in New Orleans and watched the competition and talked to people,” Castelli said. “It was really fun so I thought, ‘I really want this for the Wind Energy Student Organization (WESO).’ ”

Dr. Sri Sritharan, Dr. Julienne Krennrich, and Dr. Hui Hu

It was at the 2016 conference that Castelli had an unexpected run-in with two people from Iowa State, CCEE professor Sri Sritharan and assistant director of the Engineering Research Institute, Julienne Krennrich. Castelli and Krennrich helped Sritharan, who is the project’s Principal Investigator, write and submit the successful proposal to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which sponsors the competition. Sritharan said “I wrote the proposal due to the enthusiasm shown by Castelli and her fellow students towards the national competition and am happy that they get to compete next year.” The proposal stressed the Iowa State resources that contribute to wind energy research and education.

“Iowa State does so much with wind energy research so we’re still trying to figure out what we want our project to be,” Castelli said. “There are so many ideas at Iowa State.”

Next on the agenda for Castelli is organizing students who are interested in working on the project. While Castelli is an aerospace engineering major, she has already

Juana Castelli is the president of the Wind Energy Student Organization.

reached out to a lot of students with different interests.

“I’m hoping to get at least one more person from aerospace,” Castelli said. “We do have mechanical, electrical , as well as civil and environmental engineering students. We’ll also need business majors and marketing majors for parts of the competition. So right now we’re trying to recruit.”

Along with Hui Hu, professor of aerospace engineering, Sritharan will teach two courses next year to prepare the students for the competition. The students will also be supported by Krennrich and Eugene Takle, professor of agronomy and faculty advisor to WESO. The collaboration of engineering departments working on this project, as well as the addition of business students, make this a truly unique interdisciplinary opportunity.

Students interested in joining the team can contact Juana Castelli at