Two local high school seniors are looking to build a mini-wind turbine that will help deflect energy costs to the district.
Kansas is known for it's powerful winds, and a couple of Wellington High School seniors are looking to turn those winds into power.
Billy King, and Cameron George spoke to the USD 353 Board of Education on Thursday, Feb. 14, about their idea to construct a mini-wind turbine at the high school to help cut energy costs.
The students applied for a grant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to fund the idea, their project was not selected but King and George are determined to see it through. Each plans on embarking on careers in the engineering field after high school.
"We're doing this...to get some real hands-on experience and to learn more about it," George told the BOE. "Also by doing this, we hope to follow the mission statement [of the school district] actually, and empower more students to design more projects and help out their school."
"We feel this is one of the best ways we can do it," King added. The WHS wind turbine would not be of the large-scale variety that can be seen in different areas of the state; it would be no taller than 30 feet.
"We're hoping to put it on school property, so we can plug it into the grid," King continued.
"This isn't going to be a huge money-saving [project], just a few hundred bucks a month at best, hopefully," George added. The students have the support of the high school administration, and teachers. Upkeep of the turbine would be built into the physics curriculum going forward.
One questioned posed to the seniors was about where the funding would be generated for the turbine.
"What we're going to do, since MIT rejected the funding, is start talking to local companies around here," King said."Then hopefully get in touch with some of the big time airplane companies so they could help pay for some of the propellers, and we'd put their name on it, so it would be like a sponsorship." The two students hope to complete their project before they graduate in May.
"If people follow our example, hopefully people will build more," King went on. "Then eventually the school will become self-sustainable on the electric grid." The wind turbine project was not on the February agenda, so the next chance the BOE will have to approve it is in March.
King and George are ready to move on the project right now, once the board has officially approved the project, the students will start contacting the different entities that will need to be involved. The BOE appeared to be impressed with the student's innovative.
"I think this is a wonderful project," said Board Member, Maria Cornejo. "...It's project based learning, everything we're trying to get enhanced at the school. I think it's a great thing."