Student Team Places Second In Business Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition

Student Team Places Second In Business Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition


Socorro, N.M. – A team of New Mexico Tech undergrads won second place in the "Innovate New Mexico Student Pitch Competition" in April and won prize money.

The students presented a research funding proposal as part of the ES 316: Engineering Economics class during the spring 2016 semester taught by Dr. Ashok Kumar Ghosh of Mechanical Engineering. The topic of their pitch was "Biomimetic Blade Profile for Vertical Axis Wind Turbine."

The team members are Myissa Weiss, John Sanchez, Christen Barger, Andrew Peterson and Phillipp Baldovi.

The event was the third annual Idea Pitch Competition hosted by STC.UNM and the UNM Innovation Academy, but this was the first year New Mexico Tech participated.

Pitch competitions are opportunities for aspiring student entrepreneurs to present their innovative ideas for products, services or technologies in 60 to 90 second presentations. The pitches were judged by established entrepreneurs, investors and business professionals from New Mexico.

The NMT team submitted their video pitch, featuring Myissa Weiss. She explained the team's business proposal development of new wind turbines. In the video proposal, Weiss said the primary customers would be oil field companies in rural New Mexico.

"If only 20 percent of these sites chose our turbine, we'd be looking at revenue of $30 million or more," she said. "Expansion into residential will increase these numbers. Cleaner and greener technology has been here for a long time, but we believe this technology will open the door to cleaner and greener technology for everyone."

A hybrid vertical axis wind turbine uses a highly aerodynamic blade-profile of a falcon bird, capable of providing high starting torque even at low wind speeds. The novel turbine design was tested in a wind tunnel at Albuquerque Academy High School, Albuquerque, demonstrating that this aerodynamic profile would generate high torque of similar magnitude when wind comes from leading or trailing edge. This compact turbine can use batteries to store energy, thereby reducing and possibly eliminating the need for grid power.

The NMT team also prepared a one-page document that includes a diagram of the vertical-axis turbine, and a comparison of cost savings based on wind speed.

The team's business model estimates a sale price of $6,364 per turbine, with 20 percent profit margin. The new turbine is small enough to be installed for individual homes or for rural settings, such as remote oil production sites that are far from existing power grid infrastructure.

- NMT -