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Integration of Appropriate Technology into an Alternative Energy Class

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Energy Education Courses, Labs, and Projects

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.817.1 - 25.817.12



Permanent URL

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Paper Authors

author page

Craig W. Somerton Michigan State University

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Integration of Appropriate Technology into an Alternative Energy Class AbstractFor eleven years the Department of XXX Engineering at XXX Universityhas taught a project based alternative energy course. The focus of the courseis for students to use their background in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics,heat transfer, and electronics to perform predictive calculations for variousalternative energy technologies. The concluding assignment for the coursehas asked students to prepare a one page white paper recommending theimplementation of an alternative energy technology and make a one minutepresentation using one overhead. The intended audience is the Secretary ofEnergy. Recently, there has been significant interest in appropriatetechnology as seen in the increased activity of Engineers Without Bordersand the establishment of Engineering for Change (E4C). Appropriatetechnology is technology for energy, water, and health that departs from theconventional western technology and is focused on the appropriate use of adeveloping country’s resources, so as to not disrupt its culture andenvironment. In the last offering of our alternative energy course, wereplaced the concluding assignment with one that has an appropriatetechnology focus. The students were asked to prepare a one page whitepaper recommending the implementation of an appropriate energytechnology and make a one minute presentation for the Director-General ofthe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO).This paper presents the background material on appropriate technology thatwas provided to the students, including an appropriate technology checklist.Some of the more interesting white paper topics are presented. Anevaluation of the white papers is included and student feedback is provided.The paper concludes with lessons learned.

Somerton, C. W. (2012, June), Integration of Appropriate Technology into an Alternative Energy Class Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21574

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