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An Educational Tool to Optimize the Consumption of Primary Energy in Thermal-based Distributed Energy Systems

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

ECCD Technical Session 3: Energy and Multidisciplinary

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

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Paper Authors


Joana Marques Melo Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Joana Marques Melo, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher in Engineering Education at the CISTAR ERC - Purdue University. Dr. Marques Melo graduated from Penn State University with a Ph.D. in Architectural Engineering. She also earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from ISEP in Portugal, and her master's degree in Energy for Sustainable Development from UPC in Spain. Her research interests include quantitative methods for engineering education research, diversity in engineering education, technical communication in engineering, and thermal energy-efficient technologies.

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Cynthia Howard-Reed Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Cindy Howard Reed is the Assistant Director for Student Research and Graduate Equity and an Assistant Teaching Professor in the College of Engineering at Penn State. She has a MS in Environmental Health Engineering and PhD in Civil Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and received her BS in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University. Prior to her position at Penn State, Dr. Reed conducted research in the field of indoor air quality at the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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Catherine G.P. Berdanier Pennsylvania State University, University Park Orcid 16x16

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Catherine G.P. Berdanier is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from The University of South Dakota, her M.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. Her research interests include graduate-level engineering education, including inter- and multidisciplinary graduate education, online engineering cognition and learning, and engineering communication.

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The use of highly energy-efficient technologies is an important tool to tackle today’s energy and environmental challenges. The importance of these technologies creates a need to focus on the development of energy courses as part of the engineering curriculum. In such energy-related courses, user-friendly applications such as MS Excel can be used to enhance educational goals like the assessment of the energy consumption of these energy-efficient technologies. This research paper presents the MS Excel-based tool developed to minimize the consumption of fossil fuel-based primary energy of a Distributed Energy (DE) system, which includes base Combined Heat and Power (CHP), Thermal Energy Storage (TES), and a boiler. Moreover, an educational component comprises the utilization of a MS Excel tool to help students estimate the system’s minimum primary energy consumption. Results show that the combined use of base CHP and TES in a DE system can lead to a considerable decrease in primary energy consumption. The accessibility and familiarity of many students and companies with MS Excel can be an impactful educational tool for assessing the development of DE systems.

Marques Melo, J., & Howard-Reed, C., & Berdanier, C. G. (2020, June), An Educational Tool to Optimize the Consumption of Primary Energy in Thermal-based Distributed Energy Systems Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34111

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