Northwest of Gustavus's campus sits a nearly 40-foot long experiment.

GAC Sophomore Ben Rorem said, "It's a Venturi tube, which follows a physical law that says as the cross-sectional area decreases, the wind velocity should increase."

It to test a theory proposed by SheerWind in Chaska, Minnesota, that more energy can be produced by a turbine in the center with the stronger winds of this wind amplifying system.

GAC Physic Professor Chuck Niederriter said, "They were in need of some experimental data, and so we offered to try and help them out with that."

Professor Chuck Niederriter with some of his students including Rochelle Widmer and Ben Rorem spent last summer building the system with wood, strips of aluminum and shrink wrap.

The idea is it could theoretically serve as an alternative to some large wind turbines.

GAC Senior Rochelle Widmer said, "The nice thing about this project is that it's close to the ground so it easy to maintain and easy to repair and as well as safer for animals, a bird can be harmed by big wind turbines."

Even though this project is to study the wind, it was the wind that provided them a setback in their experiment.

Niederriter said, "Sometime over Christmas break, it blew off the trailer and kind of got mangled up, so we had to rebuild it this spring."

Now comes testing the hypothesis.

For the students, it's providing a chance to study a topic they are passionate about.

Rorem said, "I have been interested in alternative energies since about fifth grade, so this project was very interesting to me because I go to work with wind energy."

Niederriter says the best application for the technology would be smaller scale uses like on a farm or on top of a building.

The system can produce about 400 watts to charge batteries, which is enough to power some desktop computers.

--KEYC News 12