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Electric Utility Sponsored Energy Related Student Projects

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.223.1 - 4.223.7

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Paper Authors

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Richard Wilk

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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

Electric Utility Sponsored Energy Related Student Projects

Frank Wicks and Richard Wilk Mechanical Engineering Department Union College

ABSTRACT The industrial world is driven by an uncountable series of energy conversion processes. Engineering curriculums have been developed to provide students with the fundamentals to analyze these processes in various courses such as physics, chemistry, thermodynamics, transfer, heating ventilation and air conditioning, electric machinery, combustion and thermal energy conversion, but it is also important that the students have the opportunity to apply these principles to relevant industrial and social problems. Over the last ten years the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation has provided funding for students, equipment and faculty to perform energy related projects during the summer and then to present and discuss their results to the utility research and development engineers and managers. Many of these projects have also provided material for papers that have been co-authored by students and faculty for the Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference. This paper will describe projects that were performed during the last summer. These projects were chemical kinetics modeling, ice storage, landfill gas powered generation, performance evaluation power conditioner for an induction motor and harmonic analysis of a DC to AC inverter. These projects are also representative of about fifty projects that have been performed over the decade. The paper will also discuss the relationship between the energy conversion related courses and the ability of the students to perform these projects.

1. Introduction

The electric utility system is a vital and massive industry that is based on a myriad of energy conversion and transfer processes starting with the combustion of fuels and leading to the delivery of electricity to the customer. Appliances represent other energy conversion processes, where energy is converted to end uses such as light, heat, refrigeration, television and computer based services. Utility research and development departments are charged with improving existing processes and developing new technologies and potential efficiency improvements. This requires engineers who have a knowledge of electric utility related issues.

Accordingly, the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation has funded energy related student research at Union College for several years. The combined objective is expanding the technical knowledge base and introducing engineering students to energy conversion and conservation related fundamentals and practices. The authors are engineering professors who serve as Principal Investigators for the research and mentors for the students.

Wilk, R., & Wicks, F. (1999, June), Electric Utility Sponsored Energy Related Student Projects Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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