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A New Certificate Program in Renewable Energy

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Curriculum and Facility Developments for Innovative Energy Education

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.3.1 - 25.3.10



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Paper Authors


Ali Zilouchian Florida Atlantic University

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Ali Zilouchian is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Florida Atlantic University. His recent works include the applications of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) technology to transportation. In addition, he has conducted research on the applications of soft computing methodologies to industrial processes including, desalination processes, oil refineries, fuzzy control of jet engines, and fuzzy controllers for car engines for the past 25 years. He has supervised 19 Ph.D. and M.S. students to completion during the last 25 years. He has published one book and more than 155 book chapters, scholarly journal papers, and refereed conference proceedings. His research projects have been funded by many agencies, including NSF, FPL/DOE, Broward School County, and Motorola, Inc., as well as several other sources. In 1996 and 2001, Zilouchian was awarded for the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at FAU. He has also received 2003 and 2004 College of Engineering Dean’s awards in recognition of his contributions toward achievement of the goals of COE at FAU. He has served as session chair and organizer of 10 different sessions in the international conferences within the last five years. Zilouchian is currently an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering out of Oxford, U.K.

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Amir Abtahi Florida Atlantic University

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Amir Abtahi (B.M.E., 19'72, University of Minnesota, and M.S., 1975, and Ph.D. 1981, MIT) teaches an array of fundamental and applied engineering courses in the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering at FAU. With a background in thermal and control engineering, Abtahi emphasizes innovation through hands-on projects in solar engineering, senior design, and an electrical engineering course developed for non-electrical students. Abtahi is a practicing Professional Engineer and LEED AP and has designed and installed more than 300 solar installations and is involved in numerous projects around the world.

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The primary goal of this newly developed certificate program is to address the need for “green”workforce development related to education, training, and public information dissemination ofrenewable energy and sustainability. The certificate program incorporates the significant researchand teaching experience of faculty members at the College of Engineering and Computer ScienceFAU to addresses the industrial needs in this field. An innovative curriculum is designed thatincludes exposure to all forms of renewable energy including solar, wind, fuel cell, bio-fuels,geothermal, and other clean-energy-related technologies as well as the underlying foundations ofsustainable design and implementation of sustainable development initiatives. The certificateprogram also incorporates content related to complex environmental, social, and economic issuesrelative to energy and environmental policy, including carbon reduction targets. Students makeaware of the impact that human activity has on the environment, and how politics and businessinterests influence the way technology is developed and delivered to the market. With activeinvolvement of industrial leaders in green building, solar, wind, fuel cell, ocean energy, and otherenergy related technologies including FPL, the newly design certificate is expected to serve as afocal point for university-industry educational partnerships pertaining to renewable energyworkforce development in the state of Florida and beyond.The existing strengths of the several Departments within both College of Engineering andScience have been integrated to provide a dynamic program covering both regional and globalaspects of alternative energy and sustainability: The program stresses both breadth and flexibility Students with either a Science or Engineering degree will be qualified to participate and be admitted into the certificate program. Therefore, the program has been designed with sufficient flexibility to accommodate students with different backgrounds. Strong research involvement of the participating faculty. . The program offers unique opportunities for practical training (through CO-OP/internship in industry, government agency settings) and for exposure to the business aspects of the energy industry sector. The program builds on the highly successful graduate certificates programs including Leadership and Sustainability. Excellent and strong relationship with the energy-related sector including FPL, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin or small, highly specialized companies such as Enerfuel Inc., Solar sources and BV Engineering Inc. Excellent working relationships with local governmental units and agencies such as the South Florida Water Management District, USGS, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and various County Planning Offices. Rapidly escalating local job markets highly geared towards alternative energy, environmental analysis, sustainability leadership and planning in South Florida. Ocean energy technologies are emerging as an area of significant R&D at Florida Atlantic University, and Florida is at the forefront of this trend. Inspired by the abundance of this natural resource in the state and by the world-class expertise in the field that has been generated over decades, ocean energy research is now booming in state. Florida Atlantic University faculty members within the College and companies are already developing the ocean energy technology systems and components of tomorrow. 1

Zilouchian, A., & Abtahi, A. (2012, June), A New Certificate Program in Renewable Energy Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20759

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