Eastern Wind Power Donates Prototype Wind Turbine to Olin

September 8, 2022

Olin College is pleased to announce the generous donation by Linda M. and Jonathan Haar, owners of Eastern Wind Power, of a prototype of their Distributed Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) to the College.

The turbine will offer real-world, hands-on learning opportunities to faculty and students interested in renewable energy. 

The Haars designed, built and operated the VAWT prototype for over 10 years, and in approaching retirement believe that an educational environment is the best place for transdisciplinary approaches to move this prototype forward and to expose and engage faculty and students to real world work.

An image of a prototype Distributed Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT)

An image of the prototype Distributed Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) donated by Linda M. and Jonathan Haar and Eastern Wind Power.

“We have always felt strongly about moving the prototype to an organization with the creativity, vision, and capacity to create a globally socially equitable power source and to take the turbine to the next level of refinement and hopefully, mass production,” said Linda and Jonathan Haar.

“We are very excited that Olin College has accepted the prototype turbine from EWP to take on this very challenge and to make its evolution a part of their green energy curriculum.”

“I’m really hopeful that the Haars’ gift is a catalyst for the Olin community to move strongly in the direction of a just transition to a world of renewable energy,” said Linda Vanasupa, Professor of Materials Engineering at Olin, “and I’m very excited to partner with the students to bring this resource to life.”

Vanasupa and Chhavi Goenka, Assistant Professor of Engineering, will serve as co-Principal Investigators of the “Just Energy Hub,” sponsored by VentureWell, that will be a living laboratory that provides Olin students the opportunity to take leadership roles in moving science and technology innovation towards commercialization in a way that is socially just.

“We are very excited about the educational opportunities that will be created by this generous gift,” said Jason Woodard, Dean of External Programs and Partnerships and Professor of Engineering and Entrepreneurship.

“Thank you to the Haars for your willingness to entrust your creation to us.”

In addition to the VAWT prototype, the Haars have established the Olin Sustainable Energy Fund to support and ensure the educational success of this new learning opportunity.

A Team Visits Martha's Vineyard to See the Technology First-Hand

Earlier in the spring semester, a cross-campus Olin team of Vanasupa; Katie Rollauer, Olin Program Director; alumna Erika Boeing ’10; Claire Rodgers, Associate Energy Engineer at Olin; and current student Anna Letcher Hartman ’23 visited Eastern Wind Power on Martha’s Vineyard to learn more about the technology.

A group of seated people, look at the camera from around a wooden table.

The cross-campus Olin team visits with Eastern Wind Power on Martha’s Vineyard to learn more about the technology.

The “Just Energy Hub” is envisioned as a central lab for Olin’s new Just Energy course, taught by Vanasupa, with a goal of serving several courses or co-curricular activities, such as a student-run Just Energy Club.

The turbine was delivered to the Olin campus in late May and is ready for Vanasupa and their students in the Just Energy course this fall. They are using the Climate Justice Alliance’s Just Transition Framework to co-create the scope of work required for setting up the turbine.

Eastern Wind Power, Inc. (EWP) is a green energy design and development company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Sky Farm™ 50 kW VAWT is a form of new wind energy designed to greatly expand reliable, low cost, distributed green energy options. The VAWT’s small but powerful design makes it a good source of energy production on windy ocean islands, to remote industrial and agricultural sites, to high-rise buildings, to dense urban sites, to airports.