Developed with University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, Windstrip Hybrid Power System Ready for Its Commercial Debut
Thanks to the innovative work of engineering students and professors at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, cell phone users all over the planet will soon have the ability to place calls through cell towers powered by green, wind and solar energy – the Windstrip Hybrid Power System.
“It will provide critical supplies of electricity, particularly in places where there is unstable or no electrical grid, like the developing world,” adds Professor John Abraham, who is co-leading the project with Dr. Mowry. “In many cases, current cell tower operators power the communication electronics with diesel generators that are expensive and environmentally costly. Our goal with Windstrip has been to create a clean and economically competitive energy solution that will enhance and expand communications throughout the world.”
Professors Abraham and Mowry have been at the forefront of the innovative, interactive, and impressive research that exemplifies the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering’s mission: "We provide an applied, values-based learning experience that produces well-rounded, innovative engineers and technology leaders who have the technical skills, passion, and courage to make a difference." And the school’s body of work – which includes well-chronicled research and projects on renewable energy solutions; along with the Renewable Energy and Alternatives Laboratory (REAL) – is gaining a growing reputation nationally and internationally, along with attracting top students from across the United States.
“We strongly believe that you can’t walk out of here without getting your hands dirty on a challenging set of problems,” says Don Weinkauf, Dean of the School of Engineering. “These are not cookbook or token ‘hands-on’ projects. These are real projects addressing present needs and with the potential for significant impact on the technologies that our society utilizes every day.”
Mowry and Abraham’s students also benefit from a chance to be on the leading edge of what could become a huge technological development for the cellular telephone industry. While many people are familiar with the large, windmill-style wind turbines becoming more and more visible across the U.S., including wind-farms across the Midwest, the small Windstrip turbines being worked on by Mowry, Abraham, and their students could have an enormous impact on reducing the energy costs for cell phone towers – especially in developing countries.
With Americans ditching land lines in record numbers and relying more or exclusively on cell phones, the industry’s growing need for affordable, clean energy solutions means the University of St. Thomas’ work on Windstrip’s small wind turbine and hybrid energy projects couldn’t have come at a better time.
Cell phone providers and companies are the initial target market of the commercial version of Mowry and Abraham’s research project with Windstrip. While the Windstrip Hybrid Power System, which is being manufactured by Windstrip’s manufacturing partner, BFG International, will be implemented primarily on cell phone towers, Mowry notes that Windstrip anticipates future expansion into other industrial, commercial, and residential markets.
Mowry adds that the School of Engineering’s success in this project will lead to more and more leading-edge projects, which he knows will challenge both graduate and undergraduate students while positioning them to land top jobs in leading technology companies like Windstrip, as well as elsewhere in the engineering world.
“It’s really a win-win situation for everyone,” he says.