Asee peer logo

Using Undergraduate Engineering Students to Develop Practical Methods for Reducing Energy Costs at a Grain Receiving, Storage, and Transfer Facility Based on an Energy Study in the State of Michigan

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

ECCD Innovations in Energy Engineering & Technology

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1691.1 - 26.1691.35



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Robert W Fletcher Lawrence Technological University

visit author page

Robert Fletcher joined the faculty of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Lawrence Technological University in the summer of 2003, after two decades of various industry engineering positions in research, and product development.

Dr. Fletcher earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington, in Seattle, and the Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering, both from the University of Michigan.

He teaches a number of alternative energy courses at Lawrence Tech. Dr. Fletcher and his student research team is focusing on energy usage and efficiencies of several traditional and alternative energy systems.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Using undergraduate engineering students to develop a practical methods for reducing energy costs at a grain receiving, storage and transfer facility based on an energy study in the State of XXXXXABSTRACT: This paper is a continuation of work presented at the 2014 ASEE AnnualConference and Exposition. Here the author provides a brief summary of the work undertakenfrom the spring of 2012 into 2014 by XXXXX XXXXX University in conjunction with XXXXXXXX (the local utility company) to have students and faculty work on an applied researchproject with the XXXXX XXXXX Commodities, Inc. (XXC) to undertake an energyassessment of the XXC XXXXX, XX facilities. XXC is a private company in the business ofbuying, selling, storage and distribution of agricultural commodities such as corn, wheat andother grains, dry beans and edible soya beans. Rising utility costs and fixed commodities pricesnecessitated the need for a concerted effort by XXC to reduce their energy costs. The previousASEE Annual Conference and Exposition presentation focused on how the project wasorganized, managed and carried out with undergraduate engineering students, however, no datawere presented. This paper presents summaries of representative test data from that effort anddocument and quantify specific energy savings opportunities learned in this project.Included in the paper are a discussion of energy reduction strategies and good energymanagement practices using various technology options, such as variable frequency drives(VFDs) and energy usage monitoring software. Also included are improved operationalprocedures and approaches that were implemented that helped develop energy awareness foroperators and that could change energy wasting practices.Lastly, a discussion is presented on how improvements were implemented at the facility withspecific lessons learned on how to develop a practical and realistic strategy to save energy at thisfacility that is viable for any similar grain storage and handling facillity. The undergraduateengineering student who were part of this project had significant opportunities for learning invirtually all areas of the effort. A summary of student benefits is also listed, with how studentswere able to interact with other business personnel, and technical specialists. Also included is anaugmented discussion regarding how future similar student-supported projects might bestructured and managed to assure the best outcomes for all parties involved.

Fletcher, R. W. (2015, June), Using Undergraduate Engineering Students to Develop Practical Methods for Reducing Energy Costs at a Grain Receiving, Storage, and Transfer Facility Based on an Energy Study in the State of Michigan Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25027

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