Kyle Bassett’s (Hon. BEng ‘09, MEng ‘10) design of a compact wind turbine that will help deliver power to remote areas of the world, won him the David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Challenge at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Discovery Conference this week. The prize includes a $25,000 award.
Post-secondary students from across Ontario submitted three-minute video pitches of entrepreneurial ideas that have the potential to solve challenges facing the energy sector. Bassett beat out four other finalists from McMaster, York, and Waterloo.
Bassett designed a small wind turbine that takes only a few hours to manufacture using low cost 3D printers. The turbines can be packed compactly, shipped anywhere in the world and can be installed in a couple of minutes.
Bassett is a PhD candidate working under the supervision of Civil and Environmental Engineering associate professor Rupp Carriveau and Mechanical Engineering professor David Ting.
"David and I were thrilled with the news of Kyle's win - it was great to see him recognized for his unique talents and altruistic ambition,” says Dr. Carriveau.
“This University is turning heads on national and international stages and Kyle is just another recent example of why. It’s our spectacular students."
Bassett’s prototype generates five volts of power that will charge small electronics like cell phones, flashlights or a GPS unit.
In his pitch, Bassett says he was inspired to create the green energy source when he was living in a powerless remote village of Nicaragua. He created a community power station with small turbines that had residents from neighbouring villages lined up to charge essential electronics.
The award is named for past OCE Board Chair, David McFadden. The students’ pitches are judged against McFadden’s philosophy for economically viable innovation that can also lead to the betterment of society.
Bassett plans to release the design open source so anyone can access the designs and adopt them free of charge, helping him to reach his goal of rapid manufacturing and rapid deployment. Ultimately, he would like to increase power output, while maintaining the device’s reliability and compact design.