During their 2011 spring break, students in Michigan Engineering's BLUE Lab (Better Living Using Engineering Lab) traveled to Guatemala to take on their latest challenge: building a wind turbine in the remote mountain town of Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan. The town has scarce access to electricity but often experiences huge windstorms.
Nueva Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan also has many women who are expert weavers. As the Michigan engineers designed and constructed the turbine, the women wove material for the blades. The goal for the project is to provide more power to the region and at the same time stimulate business for the weaving cooperatives.
BLUE Lab hopes this will only be the beginning of an extensive relationship with the town. They plan to return in 2012 to continue work on the project.