EPA 90K Grant Winners 1Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University mechanical engineering students have returned to the Daytona Beach Campus as winners from the 10th annual U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s  

Embry-Riddle Engineering Students Win $90,000 EPA Grant to Develop Solar-Powered Air Conditioner

Thu Jun 12, 2014 at 09:00 AM

EPA 90K Grant Winners 1Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University mechanical engineering students have returned to the Daytona Beach Campus as winners from the 10th annual U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity and the Planet competition (EPA P3) held at the Convention Center in Washington D.C. in April.

The student and faculty team will receive an EPA grant of $89,996 to continue development of an innovative air conditioning system that runs on solar power. This award comes on top of a previous EPA grant of $15,000 they received last year.

The EPA's P3 program challenges college teams to create solutions for a sustainable future, while offering quality hands-on experience that brings science, technology, engineering and math classroom learning to life. The Embry-Riddle team’s project was one of seven selected from 35 competing teams following two days of judging by a panel of national experts convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science during the 2014 National Sustainable Design Expo.

Student team members include Nicholas Wood, Kendra Atticks, Kirsten Kasper, Zach Judson, Gloria King and Domenic Barsotti, with faculty advisors Dr. Yan Tang, Dr. Sandra Boetcher, Dr. Marc Compere and Dr. William Engblom.

“The EPA P3 program has been successful in getting students interested in our Clean Energy Systems engineering programs,” said Assistant Professor Yan Tang, one of four faculty advisors on the project. “These projects not only challenge our students with contemporary engineering issues, but also cultivate their entrepreneurial mindset by encouraging them to bring their designs from the classroom and laboratory to market.”

In the last four years, student teams from Embry-Riddle have received over $236,000 from the EPA P3 competition for: the development of a portable solar water purification system (now in commercial production); a solar thermal energy storage device; and this year’s solar power-based thermal cooling system.

EPA 90K Grant Winners 2“I feel this project was a fantastic experience... It did not focus on book knowledge but rather provided a platform through which I was given increased responsibility and control on a major, practical project,” said Nicholas Wood, a senior mechanical engineering student from Kingston, Jamaica.

The Embry-Riddle team will continue to refine and test their 300 watt solar cooling prototype. The system captures the sun’s heat with a parabolic mirrored trough and a line-focus high-temperature concentrating collector.

“The next phase of the project combines both practical application as well as fundamental research and involves both undergraduate and graduate students,” said Dr. Sandra Boetcher, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and a faculty advisor for the team. We’ll be working on system-level design work such as building a lithium bromide absorption chiller with the senior design students and component-specific research with graduate students that includes analyzing solar collector performance improving thermal storage tank designs.”

About The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Embry-Riddle

Mechanical engineering is the broadest of the engineering professions, involving work in almost every technical area and in a wide variety of industries and organizations. The Department of Mechanical Engineering undergraduate program gives students a solid background in basic mechanical engineering subjects so they can plan, analyze, design, and schedule mechanical systems, including those in high-performance vehicles, energy and power, and robotics. The graduate programs expand on this with advanced studies in engineering specializing in electro-mechanical systems. There is high demand for expertise in this area in a wide range of industries including aerospace, aviation, automotive, and energy systems.

Learn more about the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at Embry-Riddle: http://daytonabeach.erau.edu/college-engineering/mechanical/index.html

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.

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