(454c) The Energy Sustainability Remote Laboratory (ESRL) | AIChE

(454c) The Energy Sustainability Remote Laboratory (ESRL)


Dooley, K. M. - Presenter, Louisiana State University
Lee, J. - Presenter, Louisiana State University
Knopf, F. C. - Presenter, Louisiana State University
Ehrenhauser, F. S. - Presenter, Louisiana State University

Increasing world-wide energy demand coupled with finite conventional energy resources calls for a portfolio of sustainable energy alternatives and new technologies. We address the educational aspects of this challenge by, first, the development of lab modules (designed for use in 3rd and 4th year Chemical and Mechanical Engineering lab courses) which promote student understanding of sustainable energy practices and alternative energy sources; second, the provision of data from remote industrial and pilot-plant facilities that students will use with the modules. An important added benefit is that our efforts will provide faculty with some relief from the logistic nightmares now endemic in lab classes due to increasing engineering enrollments and constrained budgets.

The lab modules and educational products in renewable and advanced energy technologies are formulated in a common fashion to provide real–time data, explanatory videos and other tutorials, suggested assignments and germs of assignments accompanied by incomplete calculation (solution) templates, assessment instruments, and results of our own assessment experiences. These materials are all designed to maximize student learning while allowing faculty to focus more on the planning / engineering / design aspects of the labs, as opposed to the nuts and bolts of equipment operation and data collection.  Among the modules to be discussed are:  (1) Cogeneration / Data Reconciliation; (2) Cogeneration / Ideal Gas Performance; (3) Emissions Prediction and Remediation in Combustion Processes; (4) Using Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Collector Manufacturer’s Data in a PV Facility; (6) Biological pH Swing Crystallization;  (7) Correlating Particle Size Distribution – Milling Characteristics in Biomass Feed Preparation; (7) Data Reconciliation and Instrument Bias in Power Plants.

The primary impact is in the development and hosting of the experiment-rich, energy sustainability interactive resource website. The site’s open structure will allow any student to review background information on the technologies, to access real–time data from each of the technology areas, and even to post feedback. We realize that as student enrollment increases, the pressure in our lab classes for “not the same as last round” and for “meaningful experiences” falls totally on faculty shoulders.  We believe the open site structure providing faculty with suggested assignments, detailed solutions, assessment instruments, and results of our own assessment experiences will encourage use.