The Aeolus Project
My name is Dr David Drury and I am a lecturer in electrical engineering at Bristol with a background in mechanical engineering. My decision to work in the field of electrical engineering was influenced in particular by the enormous impact electrical and electronic systems are having on our daily lives. We are seeing growing demands for higher energy efficiencies, and more intelligence and autonomy in the products and services we rely upon.
I have been involved in an ongoing project that puts a team of volunteer engineering students from a range of departments within the Faculty into competition with their peers across Europe; The Aeolus Wind Turbine Race.
The Aeolus Wind Turbine Race is an international event with entries from several European universities and a single industrial company.The aim is to build a vehicle that can transport a single passenger directly into the wind using a wind turbine as its only energy source.
The Faculty of Engineering debuted its novel vehicle, built by undergraduate students, based upon an all electric drive train into the competition (incidentally the only UK entry) in the 2010 race and succeeded as the first all electric entry to successfully complete a race.
All other entries in the 2010 race were based upon mechanical drive trains and previous attempts at an electric drive train by other institutions had failed.
The race gave the students involved hands-on experience in the design, build and optimisation of the kind of electrical systems that you would see on newer generation larger scale wind turbines used for efficient and safe renewable energy capture. This allowed them to understand, amongst other things, how research from academia feeds into cutting edge technologies for industry and the public.