Engineering professor, students use NSF grant to examine sources of green, renewable energy

Photo of a student and a solar panelRenewable energy is a rapidly growing area of study in today’s world.

As the population begins to use up other natural resources such as coal and oil, the future of energy is clean, green and renewable. At the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, students have the opportunity to experience this field first-hand, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The $193,052 grant, which began in May 2012 and continues through April 2015, is being used to engage students in education about renewable energy, including solar, wind and smart grid power sources.

The project includes maximizing the power produced by solar panels using a state-of-the-art sun tracking system, which allows the panels to adjust to the angle of the sun.

“This project provides an excellent opportunity for students to study renewable energy,” said Liping Guo, assistant professor of technology. “Green energies are going to be the ultimate solution, so students will have the skills needed to help save energy sources for future generations.”

Engineering students of all departments benefit from this program.

The platform for this project will be incorporated into all levels of CEET’s curriculum, and will provide them with research skills that will be useful post-graduation. Not only will the students gain problem solving skills, but they have the opportunity to build up the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) pipeline by mentoring middle and high school students.

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