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An Undergraduate Course on Renewable Energy Conversion Systems for Engineering Technology Students

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Green Renewable Energy and Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.201.1 - 22.201.11



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Paper Authors


Radian G. Belu Drexel University

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Dr. Radian Belu is Assistant Professor within the Engineering Technology (ET) program - Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA. He holding the second position as Research Assistant Professor at Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada. Before joining to the Drexel University Dr. Belu hold faculty and research positions at universities and research institutes in Romania, Canada and United States. He also worked for several years in industry as a project manager and senior consultant. He has taught and developed undergraduate and graduate courses in electronics, power systems, communication, control and power electronics, electric machines, instrumentation, radar and remote sensing, numerical methods and data analysis, space and atmosphere physics, and physics. His research interests included power system stability, control and protection, renewable energy system analysis, assessment and design, power electronics and electric machines for wind energy conversion, radar and remote sensing, wave and turbulence simulation, measurement and modeling, numerical modeling, electromagnetic compatibility and engineering education. During his career Dr. Belu published several papers in referred journals and in conference proceedings in his areas of the research interests. He has also been PI or co-PI for various research projects United States and abroad in power systems analysis and protection, load and energy demand forecasting and analysis, renewable energy analysis, assessment and design, turbulence and wave propagation, radar and remote sensing, instrumentation, atmosphere physics, electromagnetic compatibility, and engineering education.

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Irina Nicoleta Ciobanescu Husanu Drexel University, Goodwin College of Professional Studies, Engineering Technology Program

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Dr. Ciobanescu–Husanu is Assistant Professor in Engineering Technology at Drexel University. She received her Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University in 2005 and also holds a M.S. degree in aeronautical engineering. Her research interest is in thermal and fluid sciences with applications in micro-combustion, fuel cells and research of alternative and green fuels as well as expanding her research work towards new areas regarding plasma assisted combustion. Dr. Ciobanescu-Husanu has prior industrial experience in aerospace engineering areas, that encompasses both theoretical analysis and experimental investigations such as designing and testing of propulsion systems including design and development of pilot testing facility, mechanical instrumentation of the tested prototype, and developing industrial applications of aircraft engines. Also, in the past six years she gained experience in teaching Mechanical Engineering courses with emphasis on thermal-fluid and energy conversion areas from various levels of instruction and addressed to a broad spectrum of students, varying from freshmen to seniors, from high school graduates to adult learners. She also has extended experience in curriculum development at both community college and university level.

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An Undergraduate Course on Renewable Energy Conversion Systems for Engineering Technology StudentsIn the present power scenario the demand for electrical power is increasing and conventionalenergy resources are fast depleting. In this context, the exploitation of renewable energy sourcesfor the generation of electrical power is the only alternative. Interest in the production ofelectricity from renewable energy sources and by fuel cells is rapidly increasing. The renewableenergy sector is growing rapidly with both the global and national level. The solar and windenergy industries alone are seeing more than a 20% growth per annum over the last five years.Furthermore, the market for fuel cells for standalone and static power generation is also startingto grow. There have been significant advances in renewable energy conversion technologies, aswell as increased demand for engineers, technologists and technicians trained in this area. Thisrequires the development of innovative curricula, new courses, and laboratories to educateengineering students to work in this rapidly developing industry. This paper presents thedevelopment of a multi-disciplinary course on alternative energy wind/photovoltaic/fuel cellpower generation. The motivation for the course is outlined and a detailed description of thetopics covered in the course is given. Sample student projects, and students’ responses, as well asthe students’ evaluations to the course are also presented. The course is a part of our newprojected renewable energy concentration of the Engineering Technology program at ouruniversity. The course is also offered as an elective for the new graduate EngineeringTechnology program at our university. Our curriculum covers fields like electronics, electricmachines, energy conversion, power electronics, materials and control. It is also necessary tolearn about the renewable energy systems and their applications and interactions with powersystems. This curse in principle focuses on renewable energy sources, conversion technologiesand the impacts of the renewable energy conversion systems on power systems. One objective ofthis paper is to present our effort in developing the course and the supporting laboratory and topresent the course outline and content, including the subjects, projects, experiments andreferences. An important part of this course is student project implementation and presentation.Each student is required to pick a project topic (on system design, system modeling, or analysis)by the end of the fifth week of the term and have it approved by the course instructor. They workon their project during the remainder of the term at the end of which they submit a written reporton their project and also give an oral presentation to the class. 1  

Belu, R. G., & Ciobanescu Husanu, I. N. (2011, June), An Undergraduate Course on Renewable Energy Conversion Systems for Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17482

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