University of Iowa mechanical engineering student Jacob Kintner will be spending the summer researching and developing model wind turbines at a lower cost. Currently, these models, whose blades measure just 10 inches in diameter, can cost upwards of $10,000 – versus the couple hundred bucks that Kintner and Iowa NSF EPSCoR researcher James Buchholz are aiming for. While the current models use more expensive motors and other components, Kintner is putting together virtually everything himself, making it cheaper to replace individual parts.
Kintner’s personal contribution to the model redesign includes writing a code that will control the rotations per minute (RPM) of the turbine motor. He will be testing the wake effect, or turbulence, of three different turbines and motors in a wind tunnel at the UI Oakdale Research Park. If the models are successful, there is the potential for their use in labs across the country.
In his senior year this fall, Kintner will continue to be passionate about wind turbine design and will be taking a class titled “Fundamentals of Wind Turbines.” He said that his experience with EPSCoR research will determine his post-graduation plans. When he’s not in the lab, Kintner enjoys cycling and playing the electric guitar.