North Carolina hosted its first regional KidWind Challenge on May 6, 2017 at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese, NC. Twelve teams from middle and high schools in eastern NC participated in the event. Teams built a small KidWind turbine using science and innovation and tested in the official 4’ x 4’ wind tunnel. A panel of judges scored teams by energy produced in 60 seconds in the wind tunnel, turbine design and the team’s knowledge of wind energy. The kids, teachers, organizers and judges all had a great time as the young enthusiasm was contagious. During the time between presenting to the judges and testing, teams also contributed in up to three instant challenges: The MacGyver Windmill Challenge, Sail Car Challenge and Wave Energy Converter Challenge.
In the high school division, team Zephyrus from Dixon High School took first place with team Bear Territory from New Bern High School in a very close second. In the middle school division, team WE Tech from Camden Intermediate School took first with team #EcoFans, also from Camdem Intermediate, in second. These winners are eligible to participate in the National KidWind Challenge at AWEA WINDPOWER 2017 in Anaheim, CA, May 22- 25, 2017.
The Judges’ Choice award went to team GCHS Soarers from Gates Country High School. The Blade award went to the team from Currituck County High School. Team Ursa Ventus from New Bern High School won the MacGyver Challenge, #RET1 from Camden Intermediate won the Sail Car Challenge and Wind Rats from
Camden Intermediate won the Wave Energy Converter Challenge.
Sustainable Technology & the Built Environment Practitioner-in-Residence, Brent Summerville, helped organize the event and participated as one of the three judges. The Appalachian Energy Center contributed a grant of $4500 to help fund the event. Appalachian State University serves North Carolina’s Wind Application Center for the National Renewable Energy Lab’s Wind for Schools program. We hope to make the NC KidWind challenge an annual event. For more information, visit www.kidwind.org and wind.appstate.edu.