Energy and Power

Roger Combs Last Updated: 7/8/2019 1:15 PM

The Energy and Power curriculum will introduce students to the many career and educational opportunities that exist in the energy and power industry. Through the four courses that form the Energy and Power pathway, students will research, design and build a series of authentic, hands-on projects that will enable them to understand the interplay of the generation, distribution and use of energy. Systems thinking is used as an approach to teach how things work by understanding how the parts influence the entire system and how the system impacts the parts. This program is designed, through authentic projects, to prepare students to: a) understand the   five types of energy — mechanical, heat, chemical, electromagnetic and nuclear — as well as the knowledge to measure and control energy systems; b) learn about the various means of power generation and distribution with topics that include turbines, motor/generator sets, renewable and non-renewable energy generation, and electrochemical systems such as batteries; c) gain knowledge and skills about single- and multiple-phase generation and distribution systems, transformers, and high voltage AC and DC systems; d) work with mechanical, fluid and electrical systems; and e) understand power generation and environmental issues. Projects will emphasize the integration of engineered systems and the control systems needed to meet design results. Energy and Power was developed by SREB and West Virginia as a part of a multi-state consortium to improve career and technical education in this country.

Course 1: Energy and Power Foundations This course engages students in a variety of hands-on, authentic projects to learn about energy and power methods through the design and construction of motors, pumps, heat exchangers, hydraulics and pipeline systems. These are the technologies used in large power plant systems to run and maintain processes in energy generation plants. Th rough contextual projects, students will learn and apply physics, chemistry, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, algebra and statistics in learning how these systems interact in the energy and power arena. Students will learn how engineers and technicians use these systems in the real world to optimize efficiency

Course 2: Energy Transmission and Distribution This course focuses on energy transmission and consumer usage. Through projects, students will be introduced to AC and DC power, transformers, the electrical grid and Smart Grid, and consumer load on the electrical system. To complete projects, students will use Ohm’s law, Joule’s law of heating, root mean square, Pythagorean Theorem and trigonometric principles to understand how energy travels along power lines and is converted from direct current to alternating current to end up, ultimately, in homes and businesses. Students will gain an understanding of how power companies move power — stepping it up and down to meet the needs of the end-user — by designing working transformers, capacitors, inverters and a power supply.

Course 3: Electronics and Control Systems In this course, students will build on the knowledge and experience gained in the first two foundational courses. Through projects, students will apply their knowledge to more advanced systems and learn how to program and use National Instrument’s LabVIEW software and the myDAQ data acquisition device to work as engineers in making and analyzing countless scientific measurements. Students will study advanced topics in energy and power such as smart-home automation, plant-level process control, natural gas pipeline monitoring, energy storage and wind power. Each project presents students with a design problem that will require them to not only design and build a prototype, but also develop the software program that will test the prototype and gather measurable, quantifi able data.

Course 4: Advanced Science and Engineered Systems Through well-developed projects in this advanced course, students will assume the roles of building technicians, design engineers, recreational engineers, electrical technicians and CEOs, while learning about real-world energy and power issues. Students will work with industry mentors to independently tackle real-world scenarios in the energy and power field. The projects in this course scaffold to allow students more choice in determining the final product for each project. This course incorporates knowledge of multiple sources of energy, engineered systems, societal impact and “the business of energy” as students engage in projects involving maglev trains, advanced concepts in steam energy, carbon sequestration and coal, hydraulic fracturing, alternative forms of fuel in transportation and environmental compliance.