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Two Senior Capstone Design Projects On The Potential Energy Savings At The Pettit National Ice Center

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Design Experiences in Energy Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1214.1 - 8.1214.13



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Paper Authors

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Kevin Renken

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John Reisel

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

Session 2003-2307


John R. Reisel, Kevin J. Renken, and B. Andrew Price University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


This paper presents the results of two real-world mechanical engineering senior capstone design projects at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. These projects focused on methods for obtaining potential energy savings at the Pettit National Ice Center (PNIC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The authors were originally requested by the State of Wisconsin's Division of Energy to perform a feasibility study on ways to reduce the large energy costs incurred at this facility. The authors chose to use this project as the basis for two senior design projects. A three-student team was assigned to each project. Each team worked closely with the authors throughout the semester. The first project centered on identifying and analyzing waste heat recovery options for the PNIC, while the second project focused on options for adding on-site power generation to the facility. To provide a real-world experience for the students, the faculty took on the role of project managers, defining the project goals, overseeing the progress to keep the teams focused, and critiquing the work to assure that the students considered quality and all reasonable options. The students identified the specific goals of their projects, formulated their design action plan, researched possible solutions, performed the engineering analysis, interacted with PNIC staff, government officials, and industrial personnel, prepared the final report, and formally presented their results.

The use of this open-ended feasibility study allowed the students to use a great deal of creativity in solving and analyzing a problem in a real-world setting with realistic constraints. Details of the students' final designs, cost analyses, and recommendations as well as the educational experiences of the mechanical engineering undergraduate students who worked on these projects are described.


The Pettit National Ice Center (PNIC) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an Olympic Training Facility for U.S. Speedskating (Fig. 1). Built in 1992, the PNIC has served such Olympic medallists as Eric and Beth Heiden, Dan Jansen, and Bonnie Blair, and currently serves as an official training facility for new members of the team. The PNIC has also hosted several prestigious speed skating events including the National Championships, World Cups, World Championships, and the Olympic Trials. The PNIC does not receive grants from the U.S. Olympic Committee and is operated by a non-profit organization.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Renken, K., & Reisel, J. (2003, June), Two Senior Capstone Design Projects On The Potential Energy Savings At The Pettit National Ice Center Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12108

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