Falls Church’s Jacob Abruzzi was part of a James Madison University team that placed first in the project development category of the 2020 Collegiate Wind Competition, topping 11 other universities from around the country.
This year’s competitors were challenged to design a turbine to withstand continuous winds of 22-25 meters per second and to research and develop a plan for a hypothetical 100-megawatt wind plant in eastern Colorado. JMU’s wind plant design was judged the best; the JMU turbine design placed fifth.
Originally scheduled to be held the first week of June at the American Wind Energy Association’s CLEANPOWER conference in Denver, the competition was moved online due to Covid-19 and was held via webinar on May 20, June 2, June 3 and June 17. The 12 collegiate teams replaced their poster presentations with digital slides, shared their computer screens with the judges, and presented their turbine designs and project development plans from their homes around the country.
“This year’s Collegiate Wind Competition was a particularly memorable one, as everyone involved had to quickly adapt to holding the competition in a virtual format,” said Daniel R. Simmons, assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, a sponsor of the competition. “I am inspired by the flexibility, resilience and dedication of this year’s competitors. These talented students are the next generation of the wind energy workforce.”
Abruzzi graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
This was the fourth time JMU participated in the event, including the inaugural event in 2014. JMU will participate again in 2021.
Other institutions competing this year were: California Maritime Academy; California State University, Chico; Northern Arizona University; Pennsylvania State University; Texas Tech University; Tuskegee University; University of Maryland; University of New Haven; University of Wisconsin; Virginia Tech and Washington State University-Everett.