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The sun is a source of infinite energy. Atmospheric convection and wind currents are driven perpetually as sunlight warms the earth - the challenge is harnessing as much wind power as possible and integrating that power seamlessly into existing distribution systems. As a renewable source of energy, wind has yet to be fully utilized. Unlike solar energy captured using panels during the day, the wind generally blows at night when electricity demand is already low. What can be done in the mean-time to expand the use of the technology we have now?
That is exactly the question that Dan Conner, a senior with a dual major in energy engineering and energy, business and finance, hopes to answer. Conner wants to meet engineering challenges in ways that are both environmentally sustainable and economically viable.
As part of a senior research-focused, capstone course – Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering (EGEE) 494 – Conner investigated the feasibility of powering residential electric hot water heaters using wind farms in ways that are mutually beneficial for energy producers and their customers.
The capstone course, taught by Sharon Miller, assistant professor in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ (EMS) John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and the director of the Office of Student Development at the EMS Energy Institute, pairs students with faculty advisors to conduct research in areas of interest to the students. Conner’s faculty advisor was PSIEE co-hire Seth Blumsack, assistant professor of energy policy and economics, an expert in electricity distribution networks. Read More