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Renewable Energy Based Capstone Senior Design Projects for an Undergraduate Engineering Technology Curriculum

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Project-Based Education in Energy Curriculum

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1236.1 - 22.1236.14



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Paper Authors


Radian G. Belu Drexel University

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Dr. Radian Belu is Assistant Professor within the Engineering Technology (ET) program, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA. He holding the second position as Research Assistant Professor at Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada. Before joining to the Drexel University Dr. Belu hold faculty and research positions at universities and research institutes in Romania, Canada and United States. He also worked for several years in industry as a project manager and senior consultant. He has taught and developed undergraduate and graduate courses in electronics, power systems, communication, control and power electronics, electric machines, instrumentation, radar and remote sensing, numerical methods and data analysis, space and atmosphere physics, and physics. His research interests included power system stability, control and protection, renewable energy system analysis, assessment and design, power electronics and electric machines for wind energy conversion, radar and remote sensing, wave and turbulence simulation, measurement and modeling, numerical modeling, electromagnetic compatibility and engineering education. During his career Dr. Belu published several papers in referred journals and in conference proceedings in his areas of the research interests. He has also been PI or co-PI for various research projects United States and abroad in power systems analysis and protection, load and energy demand forecasting and analysis, renewable energy analysis, assessment and design, turbulence and wave propagation, radar and remote sensing, instrumentation, atmosphere physics, electromagnetic compatibility, and engineering education.

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Renewable Energy Based Capstone Senior Design Projects for an Undergraduate Engineering Technology CurriculumEquipping engineering students with the skills and knowledge required to be successfulglobal engineers in the 21st century is one of the primary objectives of undergraduate educators.Enabling students to practice self-directed learning, to find solutions to design problems that aresustainable, and helping them recognize that they are part of a global community are just of fewof our educational goals. Project-based learning provides the contextual environment that makeslearning exciting and relevant. It provides an opportunity for students to explore technicalproblems from a systems-level perspective and to develop an appreciation for the inter-connectedness of science and engineering principles. The senior design project is a capstonedesign course taken in the final year by all engineering and engineering technology (ET) studentsin our university. The main objective of these courses in engineering and engineeringtechnology curricula is to bridge the gap between theory and real world practice. Accordingly,the proposed senior projects should include both credible analysis and experimental proofingsuch as design and implementation as discussed in ABET criteria. Additionally, the senior designseminar can serve as an excellent culminating experience in the program of study where it willfocus on research and design projects that have practical value to either consumers or toindustrial customers. The topic of alternative energy is not only relevant to a multitude of issuestoday it is also an effective vehicle for developing instruction that applies across a variety ofcontent disciplines and academic standards. Since many of the issues associated with alternativeenergy are open-ended, alternative energy also lends itself to project-based and problem-basedinstruction. The ET programs at our university have been recently updated and includeconcentrations in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and bioengineering technology.A new renewable energy concentration is proposed to start soon. Since Spring 2009 quarter, theauthor has also offered an introductory course in the renewable energy technologies. This coursehas proven to be very successfully with an enrollment of about 40 students. The introduction ofrenewable energy applications to engineering technology at our university has impacted students,faculty, and university community positively and promoted feasibility and adoption of moreenvironmentally friendly energy generation and utilization technologies. This paper presents ofthe results of three renewable energy based senior design projects promoting environmentallyfriendly technology and applications. These projects are a good example of multi-disciplinarycooperation of different engineering disciplines as well as providing valuable hands-onexperience. In addition to providing useful lessons in teamwork and project management, theprojects will provide a working demonstration wind and solar energy system. The first objectiveof this paper is to show how two of these projects were adapted for the undergraduate teachingand research curriculum. The second objective is to illustrate how student design projects canserve as an excellent marketing tool for engineering and engineering technology programs.

Belu, R. G. (2011, June), Renewable Energy Based Capstone Senior Design Projects for an Undergraduate Engineering Technology Curriculum Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18566

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