Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Northeast Section Annual Conference

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

This paper describes recent, ongoing and planned Renewable Energy (RE) education at Merrimack College. The primary RE education efforts have been through the department of Electrical Engineering (EE), with involvement from the department of Civil Engineering. In summer of 2009 the college installed a solar hot water (SHW) system in one of its student townhouses. The subjects of the advanced EE elective “Energy Measurement and Display” in summer 2009 were the selection of sensors to measure energy delivered by this SHW unit, and the uploading via Ethernet of real time data to a central server. The EE department requires all students to take “Embedded Controller Design”, and as a sequel a PIC based independent study focusing on sensing and evaluating energy consumption is presently under way. A number of Energy Savings and Power Quality independent studies have taken place over the past several years, with students developing embedded applications for measurement and assessment of donated Power Quality /Energy Savings systems. A collaborative effort is underway between Biology and Electrical Engineering for summer, 2010, leading to a 4-credit “Renewable Energy and the Environment” course for non science majors. This cross disciplinary course is based in the EE department with significant input from the Biology department. A Kill-O-Watt meter serves as the “textbook” purchase, with required student real-world projects in energy usage assessment, and in evaluating effectiveness of remedial actions. This collaboration between EE and Biology is an initial effort towards greater collaboration between the two departments. The Civil Engineering department piloted the senior elective “Environmental Design” in Fall 2009, with student teams running feasibility studies for renewable energy installations including Photovoltaic, SHW and Wind. The next iteration of this course will incorporate participation of EE and business students.