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Student Development of a Five kW Solar Furnace for Solar Thermal Chemistry Research

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Research and Multidisciplinary Experiences

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

26.1415.1 - 26.1415.16

DOI

10.18260/p.24752

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24752

Download Count

102

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Paper Authors

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Gregory Scott Duncan Valparaiso University

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G. Scott Duncan is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Valparaiso University. He received a BSME (1990) from Purdue University and Ph.D (2006) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. His research has focused on the development of systems and components for the area of concentrated solar thermal chemistry.

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Shahin S. Nudehi Valparaiso University

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Professor Nudehi received a Bachelor degree and a Master degree in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University in 1996. He joined Michigan State University in 2001 where he received his Master degree in Electrical Engineering in 2004 and his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2005. Currently, he is an assistant professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department at Valparaiso University in Indiana.

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Robert D. Palumbo Valparaiso University

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I am a Professor of Mechanical Engineering with expertise in the Thermal Sciences. My research area is High Temperature Solar Chemistry with an emphasis on thermal-electrochemistry for the production of fuels and valuable commodities like Mg and Zn.

I was a 1993-94 Senior Fulbright Research Scholar to France. From 1998-2004 the head of the High Temperature Solar Laboratory at the Paul Sherrer Institute. And I was awarded the 2013 Indiana Professor of the Year Award by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation.

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Daniel Blood Valparaiso University

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Daniel Blood is an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Valparaiso University. He received his B.S. from Valparaiso University in 2010, and his Masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Florida in 2012 and 2014 respectively. His research interests include non-traditional manufacturing, renewable energy, and low-cost technologies for the developing world.

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Luke Jerod Venstrom Valparaiso University

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Luke earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2012 and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Valparaiso University in 2007. His teaching and research broadly encompasses the thermal fluid sciences, with a focus on renewable energy systems and, in particular, high-temperature solar thermal chemistry. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the Tau Beta Pi Graduate Research Fellowship, and the University of Minnesota Graduate School Fellowship.

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Abstract

Student Development of a Five kW Solar Furnace for Solar Thermal Chemistry ResearchNumerous publications have described positive student outcomes when undergraduateengineering students participate in meaningful projects. These outcomes include: 1) thedevelopment of expertise in specific areas, 2) the acquisition of teamwork and communicationskills, 3) the acquisition of problem solving and critical thinking skills, 4) increased originality,creativity, and curiosity, and 5) and the gaining of an understanding and appreciation of theengineering process. Moreover, through classroom interactions with students participating inreal-world projects, all students are introduced to relevant engineering problems.At XXX University, over the course of seven years 50 mechanical and electrical engineeringundergraduate students designed, manufactured, assembled, and tested the majority ofcomponents and systems of a half-million dollar, five kW solar furnace. The solar furnaceconsists of a heliostat which contains 400 square feet of solar mirrors. The heliostat tracks thesun as it moves across the sky and reflects the sunlight through louvers and into a solarconcentrator. The louvers control the amount of sunlight that enters the concentrator. Theconcentrator focuses the sunlight, and a solar reactor is located at the focal point of theconcentrator. This reactor is positioned by a three-axis linear drive system. Within the reactor,metal oxides are electrolyzed to produce metals or decomposed to a lower oxygen state.This paper describes specific student contributions to the development of the solar furnace andtheir avenues of participation which included summer internships, independent project work, andcapstone senior design projects. Finally, this paper describes multiple student outcomesincluding the fact that 40 percent of the students who have participated in the project have goneon to study engineering in graduate school.

Duncan, G. S., & Nudehi, S. S., & Palumbo, R. D., & Blood, D., & Venstrom, L. J. (2015, June), Student Development of a Five kW Solar Furnace for Solar Thermal Chemistry Research Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24752

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015