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Students Built Educational Renewable Energy Training Units

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Project-based Education in Energy Courses

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1131.1 - 15.1131.15



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Paper Authors

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Faruk Yildiz Sam Houston State University

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Keith Coogler Sam Houston State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Student-Built Renewable Energy Training Unit Abstract

Energy is one of the major building blocks of modern society. Understanding energy means understanding energy resources and their limitations, as well as the environmental consequences of their use. When preparing students for their future careers, real world training is a plus during their education. Renewable energy training units are very important for the hands-on laboratory sections of energy education and help the students to understand the concepts and applications of this type of energy. Due to the high costs of the training units, it becomes a budget concern to purchase training units for laboratory sections. Some of the pre-built training units already on the market have a price range from ten thousand to fifty thousand dollars per unit. If there are budget concerns for the program, the only option that remains is to teach theory without the benefit of hands-on training. Taking these issues into consideration, the students in the Industrial Technology program have designed, built, and tested a multi-purpose renewable energy training unit for the alternative energy related classes. This prototype trainer is designed to be used for hands-on activities which provide opportunities for students to engage in experiments that will reinforce the material covered. The safety of the unit was confirmed after several tests in different conditions on campus.

1. Introduction

We live in an age of environmental awareness, and alternative energy education is present in most of our daily conversations in engineering, technology, and science education. Renewable energy today provides about 9% of the world’s energy and 8 to 10% of the U.S. needs [1]. However, in many parts of the world these percentages are increasing significantly. Based on current data on global warming, as well as the current U.S. dependence on overseas oil, there is an interest and urgency in utilizing alternative energy sources. In order to prepare students for their future careers, real-world training is imperative for their education. University campuses in the United States are taking important steps to establish alternative energy research and education. For example, undergraduate engineering and engineering technology programs are now including laboratory-based curriculum in alternative energy [2-8]. Hands-on laboratory experiments using educational training units offer enhanced learning experiences. These units provide a real time display of key system properties as well as surrounding conditions through a data acquisition system.

The majority of alternative energy educational training units are built and sold by companies that offer custom-made systems according to the customers’ needs; this increases the cost of the training units [9-13]. Alternative energy teaching tools help students to fully comprehend complex concepts with interactive educational training equipment and are very important for the hands-on laboratory sections of energy education. Due to the high costs of educational training units, it becomes a budget concern when purchasing training equipment for the laboratory sections of the courses. The costs of such equipment range from ten thousand to fifty thousand dollars per unit [14-17] . If there is a budget concern for a department, the only option to the instructor is to teach only the associated theory of the course. Taking these issues into consideration, building an energy training unit becomes a smart idea for exposing students to alternative energy fields. The training units need to be designed for use in hands-on activities, which provide students

Yildiz, F., & Coogler, K. (2010, June), Students Built Educational Renewable Energy Training Units Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16418

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