June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.552.1 - 11.552.10
Engineering Education in Alternative Energy Abstract
This paper describes education and research efforts in alternative energy at Michigan Technological University (MTU). A particular emphasis will be placed on the multidisciplinary education of chemical engineering undergraduate students in alternative energy. Experiences can involve enrollment in an interdisciplinary design project, an elective fuel cell course, a hydrogen fuel cell “electrochemical engineering” laboratory, or performing basic or applied research with university faculty and staff. Teaching and mentoring opportunities are also available to doctoral students.
The major aspect of the experience is the Alternative Fuels and Fuel Cell Enterprise (AFE). This is a multidisciplinary, research-oriented undergraduate research project which is run as a business with student management and faculty / staff oversight. The students are currently working on the development of a hybrid, alternative fuel military transport and a transportable alternative energy demonstration unit. Furthermore, these students are involved in minor projects studying other forms of alternative energy, alternative energy applications, or energy integration. This project is in its fourth year and typically enrolls about thirty chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering undergraduates.
Alternative energy is a topic of current interest due to rising oil costs due to increased worldwide demand and political instability in the Middle East. During the 2004 election campaigns, both President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry discussed as part of their platforms an increased focus on alternative energy research and development. Furthermore, within the State of Michigan there has been increased emphasis on fuel cell applications to motor vehicles. To prepare our students to create the future, faculty and staff at MTU have developed a wide range of interdisciplinary courses and projects in alternative energy.
After describing the structure of the MTU enterprise program, the AFE enterprise and its projects will be presented. This program allows for a unique, multidisciplinary integration of research into teaching. Following this will be a description of the elective course, laboratory, and focused research projects.
The MTU Enterprise Program
MTU students can pursue a minor or concentration (curriculum shown in Table 1 with elective modules listed in Table 2) in the Enterprise program as part of their respective accredited degree program. A vertical (sophomores, juniors, and seniors) and horizontal (various engineering and business disciplines) integration makes the program a unique experience for students. Over 10% of students enrolled in the College of Engineering are involved in (mostly) industry-sponsored enterprise projects, in one of twenty enterprises.
Keith, J., & Miller, M., & Opella, K., & King, J., & Meldrum, J., & Green, C., & Gwaltney, G., & Bradley, S. (2006, June), Engineering Education In Alternative Energy Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/123
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