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Integration of Mathematics for Sustainable Energy Applications

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 3

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.999.1 - 26.999.9



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Paper Authors


Seunghyun Chun California Baptist University

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Dr. Chun is currently an Assistant Professor at the California Baptist University, College of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering department. His area of interest is in power electronics, smartgrid and engineering education.

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Integration of Mathematics for Sustainable Energy Applications Abstract The need for strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce is essential and critical in advancing the economy and society of the future. But the U.S continues to trail the world in math and science. A change in the way math is taught and presented in the classroom is urgently needed. Instructors need to be able to engage the students in learning by communicating that the study of mathematics and its objective is not to study math for math sake but to be able to apply it as a tool to solve the world’s complex and essential problems. The topic of sustainable energy is no longer a topic reserved for scientists and engineers. It is the topic of discussion in many different areas and also age groups. From kindergarten to high school, students have been introduce to at least one sustainable energy source, such as solar energy or wind energy and the importance of energy efficiency have been communicated to them. By taking this area of common exposure and integrating it into the way numerical analysis or root finding method is introduced, the students interest in the material and understanding of it increases. This not only provides the student with a better grasp of the course content but it bridges the gap between the students preconception of math as being purely theoretical and real world engineering problems. In this paper an example of a method to present a basic numerical analysis method’s such as the Newton’s Method (Fig. 1), Bisection method, Secant Method and the False Position Method is described in the way it is used in sustainable energy application. A solar panel is examined and students are provided with its P-V characteristic curve. The arbitrary function f(x), that was the target of finding the root for in a numerical analysis textbook, is no longer a function without any significance (Fig. 2). It becomes a derivative of the P-V characteristic curve which has a root that corresponds to the maximum power point for efficient power extraction of the solar panel. This can be applied to wind energy, fuel cells and so on. The concept on creating a simple lab utilizing the NI ELVIS or MATLAB will also be provided with samples of experimental results (Fig. 3). P-V Curve Power (Watts) 200 l 0 f : dP/dV l 100 MPP 1 Vmp 0 x 0 10 20 30 40 50 P ( x , f(x ) ) 2 0 0 0 I-V Curve Ipv (Amps) 5 Imp MPP V mp x0 X 0 x 0 10 20 30 40 50 1 dP/dV - V Curve 0 P ( x , f( x ) ) dP/dV 1 1 1 -20 MPP V mp 60 - 0 10 V (Volts) 30 40 50 pvFigure 1: NRM root x* is represented by the Figure 2: Maximum Power Point for different curves cross. of a PV module.Figure 3: Experimental Setup Utilizing NI ELVIS or MATLAB

Chun, S. (2015, June), Integration of Mathematics for Sustainable Energy Applications Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24336

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