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Top Lockheed Martin Innovation Award Goes to University of Maryland Research Scientist

December 19, 2012
Contacts: 

Ted Knight 301-405-3596

Dr. Benedict's Award Winning Turbin DesignRevolutionary wind turbin design could be used to generate power for roof top farms and other urban projects

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A University of Maryland research scientist in the A. James Clark School of Engineering has won the grand prize in the Lockheed Martin 2012 "Innovate the Future Challenge." Aerospace Engineering's Moble Benedict won the prize for his concept of a "highly efficient, vertical axis wind turbine design for clean energy generation in urban environments." The award comes with a $25,000 prize.

The Innovate the Future Challenge is sponsored by Lockheed Martin as part of its centennial celebration. The international competition seeks to encourage and nurture innovative technologies that will lead to a secure future for our planet.

A Highly Efficient Turbin Design

While at Maryland, Benedict has conducted pioneering research on next-generation Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) concepts, Cyclocopter and Flapping-wing aircraft.

His award-winning technology for the Lockheed Martin competition (right) involves an efficient small-scale, stand-alone wind turbine design. A key advantage is that the turbine is self-starting at speeds as low as 3.3 mph, can capture energy regardless of fluctuations in wind direction, and is highly efficient even at low tip speed. The wind turbine design was developed after eight years of intensive research in cycloidal-rotor design, development, and testing led by Benedict in the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center at the University of Maryland.

Benedict says applications could include small roof-top farms using micro wind turbines that generate wind power efficiently in urban environments, where energy needs are very high and wind-conditions are extremely unpredictable.

As part of the grand prize, Benedict will also receive an incubation contract with University of Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) to advance his design toward commercialization.

Earlier this year, Benedict won the 2012 Hal Andrews Young Engineer/Scientist of the Year Award.

Watch a video about Dr. Benedict's research and the potential of the vertical axis wind turbin: