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A Successful Industry Based And Energy Conservation Related Senior Project

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.50.1 - 3.50.7

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Paper Authors

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Frank Wicks

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2633


Frank Wicks Union College Schenectady, New York, 12308

ABSTRACT One such student and his manager proposed The Mechanical Engineering program at Union analyzing a cascade of industrial compressors that now College which is on a trimester system requires a two consumes electric power at the rate of more than $ term Engineering Senior Project with the option of 1,000,000 per year to better understand the system and extending to three terms. The normal procedure is to identify changes in design or operating procedures during the junior year each faculty member provides the that could reduce this electric power bill. students with a list of their interests and then the The system was modeled, property tables students can interview each faculty member that has a developed and analysis performed based upon the 1st project of potential interest before making the final and 2nd law of thermodynamics. This resulted in decision. The alternative procedure is for the student to identifying a change of operating procedures that define a project and then find a faculty member to work reduced power requirements by 15 % and additional with. recommendations for equipment modifications and Most of the students are full time day students, but upgrades. This paper will describe this project. there are significant numbers of students who are employed by local industries and attend part time, and 1. Introduction these students often propose work related projects to Laboratory based research development and various faculty members. Such projects have included testing of gas turbine and aircraft engine combustion methods for deicing airplane on ground and in flight, processes requires a supply of compressed air at design and installation of an autopilot system for an pressures, temperatures and flow rates comparable to airplane, analysis of air infiltration to and from hospital the operating conditions from the compressors of the clean rooms and performance of tests and analysis actual engine in which the compressor is powered by the directed toward increasing the efficiency of a cascade of turbine. However, in the laboratory the compressed air power intensive industrial compressors. is typically provided by a cascade of compressors with This paper will describe each of these four projects some intercooling and driven by large nominally fixed and then provide a detailed description of then a more speed three phase induction motors. The control of the complete presentation of the tests, analysis, output pressure and flow has been performed with a recommendations and results of the industrial combination of throttle and dump valves in the cascade compressor senior engineering project that is now while final temperature is attained by natural gas fueled saving the industry about $100,000 per year in electric heaters. An existing system has had an energy cost in power costs by changing the operating configuration excess of $2,000 per hour. While, it was recognized that while making recommendations for equipment and some fundamentally wasteful techniques might be instrumentation upgrades that should yield additional contributing to this substantial operating cost, it was not savings. clear if there could be any practical and cost effective Senior engineering students at Union College are method for reducing the power requirements and costs. required to take a two term senior project with a Thus, the authors undertook a 1st and 2nd Law analysis substantial component of design and analysis and for the purpose of identifying any such energy and cost subsequent oral and written reports. saving options. It was expected that such an analysis Most full time students perform the projects in our might result in recommending modifications of the engineering rooms, but there can be a mutual benetit for system in terms of additional intercooling variable part time students who work full time to perhorm speed motors or installation of inlet guide vanes that industry related senior projects. would require substantial capital investment and installation to realize the benefits. Thus, the authors were surprised to find that the largest initialbenefits American Society for Engineering Education Energy Conversion and Conservation Division Energy Conservation and Waste Management Session Annual Conference and Exposition, Seattle, June 30,1998

Wicks, F. (1998, June), A Successful Industry Based And Energy Conservation Related Senior Project Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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