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Integrating Geothermal Energy Education to an Engineering Technology Curriculum

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Energy Conversion and Conservation Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

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Paper Authors


Reg Pecen Sam Houston State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Reg Pecen is currently a Quanta Endowed Professor of the Department of Engineering Technology at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Dr. Pecen was formerly a professor and program chairs of Electrical Engineering Technology and Graduate (MS and Doctoral) Programs in the Department of Technology at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Dr. Pecen served as 2nd President and Professor at North American University in Houston, TX from July 2012 through December 2016. He also served as a Chair of Energy Conservation and Conversion Division at American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Dr. Pecen holds a B.S in EE and an M.S. in Controls and Computer Engineering from the Istanbul Technical University, an M.S. in EE from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wyoming (UW, 1997). He served as a graduate assistant and faculty at UW, and South Dakota State University. He served on UNI Energy and Environment Council, College Diversity Committee, University Diversity Advisory Board, and Graduate College Diversity Task Force Committees. His research interests, grants, and more than 50 publications are in the areas of AC/DC Power System Interactions, distributed energy systems, power quality, and grid-connected renewable energy applications including solar and wind power systems. He is a senior member of IEEE, member of ASEE, Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society, and ATMAE. Dr. Pecen was recognized as an Honored Teacher/Researcher in “Who’s Who among America’s Teachers” in 2004-2009. Dr. Pecen is a recipient of 2010 Diversity Matters Award at the University of Northern Iowa for his efforts on promoting diversity and international education at UNI. He is also a recipient of 2011 UNI C.A.R.E Sustainability Award for the recognition of applied research and development of renewable energy applications at UNI and Iowa in general. Dr. Pecen established solar electric boat R & D center at UNI where dozens of students were given opportunities to design solar powered boats. UNI solar electric boat team with Dr. Pecen’s supervision won two times a third place overall in World Championship on solar electric boating, an international competition promoting clean transportation technologies in US waters. He was recognized as an Advisor of the Year Award nominee among 8 other UNI faculty members in 2010-2011 academic year Leadership Award Ceremony. Dr. Pecen received a Milestone Award for outstanding mentoring of graduate students at UNI, and recognition from UNI Graduate College for acknowledging the milestone that has been achieved in successfully chairing ten or more graduate student culminating projects, theses, or dissertations, in 2011 and 2005.

He was also nominated for 2004 UNI Book and Supply Outstanding Teaching Award, March 2004, and nominated for 2006, and 2007 Russ Nielson Service Awards, UNI. Dr. Pecen is an Engineering Technology Editor of American Journal of Undergraduate Research (AJUR). He has been serving as a reviewer on the IEEE Transactions on Electronics Packaging Manufacturing since 2001. Dr. Pecen has served on ASEE Engineering Technology Division (ETD) in Annual ASEE Conferences as a reviewer, session moderator, and co-moderator since 2002. He served as a Chair-Elect on ASEE ECC Division in 2011. He also served as a program chair on ASEE ECCD in 2010. He is also serving on advisory boards of International Sustainable World Project Olympiad ( and International Hydrogen Energy Congress. Dr. Pecen received a certificate of appreciation from IEEE Power Electronics Society in recognition of valuable contributions to the Solar Splash as 2011 and 2012 Event Coordinator. Dr. Pecen was formerly a board member of Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development ( and also represented UNI at Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA). Dr. Pecen taught Building Operator Certificate (BOC) classes for the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) since 2007 at Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri as well as the SPEER in Texas and Oklahoma to promote energy efficiency in industrial and commercial environments.

Dr. Pecen was recognized by State of Iowa Senate on June 22, 2012 for his excellent service and contribution to state of Iowa for development of clean and renewable energy and promoting diversity and international education since 1998.

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Faruk Yildiz Sam Houston State University

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Faruk Yildiz is currently an Associate Professor of
Engineering Technology at Sam Houston State University.
His primary teaching areas are in Electronics,
Computer Aided Design (CAD), and Alternative Energy Systems. Research interests include: low power energy
harvesting systems, renewable energy technologies
and education.

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Ulan Dakeev Texas A&M University, Kingsville

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Dr. Ulan Dakeev is an Assistant Professor in Industrial Technology Department in the College of Engineering, Texas A&M University - Kingsville. His areas of research include renewable energy (wind energy), quality in higher education, motivation, and engagement of students.

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The theory and practice of the renewable energy and the sustainability education have been directly and indirectly included as new curriculum materials in many engineering and technology programs. Solar, wind, and Hydrogen fuel cell systems are available green energy technologies supported with customized educational trainers and modules in higher education institutions. Meanwhile other clean and alternative energy technologies such as geothermal heat pumps have steadily become an energy and cost efficient alternate to traditional heating and cooling systems. This require specifically engineering technology students to better gain competencies of geothermal energy for applying industrial, residential, and commercial geothermal systems in design, installation, testing, operating, data acquisition, monitoring and troubleshooting of related geothermal systems. However, due to larger laboratory space requirements, larger physical size and the higher initial cost of geothermal energy applications, many engineering and technology institutions were not able to include them in the curriculum, therefore simulation studies were the mostly an option for students to understand geothermal heat pump design and operation.

Geothermal energy is the energy contained as heat in the Earth’s interior layer. The internal structure of the Earth together with the heat transfer mechanisms inside mantle and crust plays a significant role in the geothermal energy applications. Geothermal energy, as natural steam and hot water, has been exploited for decades to generate electricity, and both in space heating and industrial processes in many countries.

This paper describes the curriculum enhancement for an existing junior level alternative energy class in a B.S. in Engineering Technology program by adding geothermal energy fundamentals and applications in it. The curriculum includes; (1) the analysis of refrigeration cycle on a pressure-enthalpy diagram using pressures and temperatures measured in a FESTO Didactic geothermal heat pump system, (2) obtaining coefficient performance (COP) and the energy efficiency ratio (EER) of a geothermal heat pump using measured temperature, humidity, voltage, and current values in normal and different loading scenarios for safe and effective operation. National Instrument’s LabVIEWTM software and myDAQ data acquisition module integrated with variety of sensors are also used as modern tools for the instrumentation and interfacing of the geothermal heat pump system that resulted in increased students’ interest to a traditionally mechanical engineering and technology application.

This curriculum update serves as a major and minor class for multiple degree concentrations such as ECET, construction management, safety management, and engineering design and development in the department of engineering technology. The university’s recent strong partnership with a major energy services company also makes electrical power and renewable energy curriculum central to the University and College’s strategic planning that will produce future engineering technology graduates ready for implementing renewable energy technologies and applications on their areas of concentrations.

Pecen, R., & Yildiz, F., & Dakeev, U. (2019, June), Integrating Geothermal Energy Education to an Engineering Technology Curriculum Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32986

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