The "Design and assembly of a single-phase wind turbine" project was selected as part of the 2022/23 call of the #Students4Sustainability programme in collaboration with Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE). This Business + University cooperation project was led by students doing an Energy Engineering Degree at Mondragon University with the aim of contributing to the energy transition in the Basque Country in collaboration with SGRE.

Enrique Zarate, Coordinator of the Energy Degree, and Erik Garayalde, Coordinator of the sixth semester of the Energy Degree at Mondragon University, shared their experience as the project's leading centre.

4gune: What was the territorial energy challenge to which the project was intended to respond?

Enrique Zarate / Erik Garayalde: As the Basque Country is a relatively small territory, the space available for installing large wind turbines is very limited. For this reason, we felt that promoting small-format wind turbine technology was a good option. In this way, energy is generated in a distributed manner, providing greater reliability to the electricity system, while at the same time encouraging self-consumption. Facilitating self-consumption strengthens energy autonomy and reduces dependence on conventional sources.

4gune: How would you describe the project and its purpose? Who made up the project team?

Enrique Zarate / Erik Garayalde: The purpose of such a project is twofold. On the one hand, students can test their technical skills by designing the main parts of a low-power wind turbine. On the other, they can learn how to manage multidisciplinary projects where sharing work across a team is a necessity.

The project involved 37 students in 6 groups. The work was divided up in the team according to subject matter, so that each part could be carried out in more depth within the given time frame. During the project, they were also assisted by teachers whose subjects have a direct impact on the tasks to be carried out.

4gune: Can you describe the course of the project, its scope, and how you hope it will be continued?

Enrique Zarate / Erik Garayalde: The project consisted of two main parts. Firstly, the tower and the blades were mechanically designed and manufactured using 3D printing. They designed the blades, defining their geometry, and the mechanical stresses that both the blades and the wind turbine structure itself will undergo.

In the second stage, the electronic and control unit was installed. The first step involved characterising the electrical machine of the turbine in order to obtain the parameters to use subsequently in the design of the control unit.

As for the next steps, the natural continuation of this project would be to move it from a controlled environment, such as the laboratory, to validation under real conditions by integrating it into a domestic power grid.

4gune: What encouraged you to apply for the #Students4Sustainability initiative and what was your experience as a selected project?

Enrique Zarate / Erik Garayalde: We heard about the initiative through the 4gune platform and it immediately fitted in with the project we had in mind to carry out with the third year students. Another important factor that we would like to highlight was the simplicity of submitting the application and the availability and support we received from the 4gune team when it came to resolving any queries that arose during the project. The experience was very positive and we hope to be able to repeat it with new projects in future calls. #Students4Sustainability has not only raised the profile of an innovative project developed by future engineers from Mondragon University, but we also believe that it has had a considerable impact on their motivation and commitment.

4gune: What would you say is the differentiating element or added value of this call for your project?

Enrique Zarate / Erik Garayalde: Practical learning and working closely with a company are two of the distinguishing features of Mondragon University, and #Students4Sustainability was the perfect platform to put them into practice. #Students4Sustainability added a business context to the students' work, and also gave us the opportunity to work with a leading company in the field of wind energy such as Siemens-Gamesa. In addition, thanks to the financial support provided by the project, we were able to acquire additional measuring equipment, which allowed the students to learn more about the technical concepts of wind turbine power generation. Also thanks to this financial support, we were able to test the turbines in a wind tunnel, where we were able to study how they worked under different wind conditions.

4gune: How do you view the Business + University collaboration? What would you say to other companies thinking of launching an initiative similar to #Students4Sustainability?

Enrique Zarate / Erik Garayalde: We view this type of collaboration as a good opportunity for students to begin to get closer to the work dynamics of companies in the industrial sector.

To other companies considering similar initiatives, we would say that this type of Business + University collaboration is a good opportunity to raise awareness among students. It is important to bear in mind that today's students will be entering the world of work in the near future, and their perception of the companies in the surrounding area may be much more favourable thanks to this type of initiative.


More information

“Design and assembly of a single-phase wind turbine” – Presentation video

Collaboration projects at 4gune - Business + University Programme

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