Renewable Energy Based Capstone Design Applications For An Undergraduate Engineering Technology Curriculum
The senior design project is a capstone course taken in the final year of the Electrical and Information Engineering Technology (EIET) program at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). The EIET program has been recently updated and is Iowa's first four-year Bachelor of Science degree in the electrical engineering technology area. The program has 2+2 articulation agreements with Iowa community colleges. Introduction of renewable energy applications to electrical engineering technology curriculum at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) has impacted students, faculty, and university community positively and promoted feasibility and adoption of more eco-friendly energy technologies. This paper presents the results of three solar and/or wind power based senior design projects promoting environmentally friendly technologies in Iowa. This paper also illustrates several methods for collaborating with regional corporate partners. The capstone senior projects listed are: (1) design and development of a fiberglass zero emission solar electric boat for Iowa lakes and rivers; (2) computer controlled solar powered outdoor digital display for departmental recruitment; and (3) design and implementation of a wind-solar hybrid power generation and instrumentation station. The first objective of this paper is to show how two of these projects were adapted for the undergraduate teaching and research curriculum. The second objective is to illustrate how student design projects can serve as an excellent marketing tool for engineering and engineering technology programs.