Solar wind turbine incubated at Dixie State University added to Dixie Power grid
August 27, 2020
Incubated by the 3X Green company at DSU’s Atwood Innovation Plaza, a unique, patent-approved solar wind turbine is now generating power for the community through a partnership with Dixie Power.
“It’s a solar and wind machine all in one,” said Dr. Wayne Provost, director of innovation, guidance & solutions at DSU’s Atwood Innovation Plaza. “The unique design of bringing solar and wind together helped us get the patent.”
3X Green, named for its environmentally-friendly inventions, was granted a patent for the turbine in May, 2020. Shortly after construction of its fourth prototype, DSU entered into a partnership with Dixie Power, the local electric cooperative. Dixie Power will be providing space as well as a net-metered interconnection to the power grid at their Engineering & Operations Center on their River Road property.
"Dixie Power is proud to be collaborating with Dixie State University to facilitate the installation and testing of DSU’s newly patented wind turbine configuration,” Dixie Power Chief Operating Officer Colin Jack said. “Dixie Power has agreed to interconnect the wind turbine to enable Dixie State University to prove the function of their design and quantify the power production.”
Originally designed by Provost along with business partner Jeff Stewart, the initial prototype was tested at the old St. George airport. They also shared it with a DSU entrepreneur class so students could learn how to set up a company, prove their concept and market their product. Eleven DSU students helped set up and register the company with the name 3X Green due to their three patent-pending products designed to help the environment.
“That class was one of the most successful endeavors the students ever attended,” said Provost. “All of the students were granted options in the company, and they acted like true owners of a large corporation.”
One of the 11 students, Wyatt Anderson, now works as the operations manager for 3X Green. An inventor himself and DSU Business School graduate, Anderson helped design and construct the newest turbine prototype along with mechanical engineering student intern, Jesse Smith.
“It’s been cool to see the initial idea and what it’s evolved into throughout the process,” said Anderson. “Right now, we are honing in on our mass production model to offer this product to rural customers who have off-grid power producing needs. The design at Dixie Power is similar to what we are going to mass produce, with the exception of using lighter metals to make it a little easier on everyone for shipping and installation.”
Provost and Stewart said they will honor the options given to the 11 initial students as well as donating 20 percent of the company to Dixie State University should there be an opportunity to sell or license the product.
“This is a proof of concept – a test of the system to see how it will perform. The major shift point for our idea was this relationship with Dixie Power,” said Stewart. “The first one was bringing the students on – that was the spark plug.”
According to Jack, part of Dixie Power’s commitment to its members is to seek out cost-effective innovations. In recent years, the company has purchased and loaned out all-electric cars to their members, integrated geothermal and solar energy generation into their portfolio and installed composite fiber/resin transmission poles.
“Partnering with DSU's innovation program is just another way that we are looking for innovative ways to provide our members with safe, reliable and affordable power," said Jack.