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Ohio Northern University receives grant to build mobile solar energy lab

Sep 6, 2013

The Ohio Northern University T.J. Smull College of Engineering has been awarded a Dominion Higher Education Partnership grant to develop and implement a mobile solar energy lab. Dominion Foundation is the charitable arm of Dominion Resources, Dominion East Ohio’s parent company.

Engineering students will design an experimental apparatus to demonstrate the operation of solar thermal and photovoltaic systems.  The finished product will be used in undergraduate engineering courses on thermodynamics and renewable energy as well as for high-school STEM outreach programs such as Camp GEMS and Explorers Post.

The construction of the lab will serve as a senior capstone assignment for ONU engineering students, who are expected to complete the project by the end of the spring semester. David Sawyers, ONU associate professor mechanical engineering, who submitted the proposal and obtained the grant for the University, will serve as co-adviser on the project along with Srinivasa Vemuru, ONU professor of electrical and computer engineering.  Through the design process, the engineering students will be able to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical problem, while also gaining experience in teamwork, communications, and customer relations.

Members of the senior capstone team are Alex Bachtel, a mechanical engineering major from Mantua, Ohio; Ashley Batesole, a mechanical and electrical engineering major from Medina, Ohio; Zach Brewer, a mechanical engineering and engineering education major from Decatur, Ind.; Ryan Sarver, a mechanical engineering major from Alger, Ohio; Nick Siebert, an electrical engineering major from Celina, Ohio; and Kevin Thayer, a mechanical engineering major from Troy, Ohio.