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Undergraduate Renewable Energy Projects to Support Energy Solutions of the Future

[+] Author Affiliations
Heather L. Cooper

Purdue University

Paper No. IMECE2006-15884, pp. 491-495; 5 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2006-15884
From:
  • ASME 2006 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, November 5 – 10, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4781-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3790-4
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME

abstract

Motivated by energy security requirements and the desire to create a sustainable and safe environment, there is a growing need to transition gradually from fossil fuels toward new and emerging energy sources. The energy solutions of the future will require a significant amount of research and development, as well as increased awareness and acceptance of new and emerging energy technologies. Creating a highly educated workforce who will contribute to overcoming future energy challenges is a key component in bringing about this transition. One method of supporting workforce development in future energy solutions is to incorporate new and emerging energy technology directly into required undergraduate coursework. To this end, renewable energy projects were developed and implemented in a required introductory thermal science course in a mechanical engineering technology curriculum. The goal of the projects was to provide students with a deeper understanding of the need for, the advantages of, and the difficulties associated with renewable energy sources. The open-ended semester-long student projects included (1) research on the history and implementation of a renewable energy source, (2) development of an experimental application of the energy source in an energy conversion process, and (3) an economic analysis of the energy source in an assumed application or case study. This paper presents the design and development of these renewable energy projects, and informal and formal evaluation of the effectiveness of the projects over two years of classroom implementation. In addition, the link between the projects and select accreditation criteria for engineering technology programs is discussed.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME

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