Alternate Energies team members will research and test methods of converting vegetable
oil to mono alkyl
esters (bio-diesel fuel). The perfected technique will be used as a laboratory activity
in the Applied Chemistry
Senior Engineering Design students will develop an automated bio-diesel batch processor.
This device will use
a programmable logic controller, pumps, valves and appropriate sensors to automate
the measuring, mixing, production and
separation of bio-diesel products.
Older electric golf carts use a resistance bank and a series of switches for speed
control. Whenever the
vehicle is on it is using full power. Some of that power is used to propel the vehicle
forward the rest is turned to
waste heat. When the vehicle is moving at full speed all of the energy is directed
to the wheels. At slow speeds much of
the energy is turned to heat in the resistors. A solid state motor controller varies
the energy supplied to the motor to
achieve speed control. This more efficient use of energy allows the vehicle to travel
farther between recharging cycles.
The addition of an engine/generator set to the vehicle will extend its range indefinitely.
This series hybrid
configuration will charge the batteries as the vehicle is being driven. The advantage
of a hybrid drive train is that a
much smaller engine with lower fuel requirements can be used for normal movement with
battery power supplying peak
demand. The addition of solar panels to the vehicle will allow the vehicle to recharge
during periods of inactivity when
away from a recharging station. With voltage and charge monitoring instruments students
will be able to compare energy
flow from the components of the tribrid system and monitor energy conversion efficiency.
Students will gather baseline data from the unmodified vehicle. They will install
battery monitoring instrumentation and a
solid state speed controller. They will compare that data to the vehicle with solid
state speed controller installed. A
diesel engine/alternator set will be added to the vehicle to charge batteries while
driving and solar panels will be
installed on the vehicle roof. The finished vehicle will be driven in local festival
and holiday parades. It will be
used to demonstrate energy conversion to Applied Chemistry students. It will also
be exhibited at the Toledo Auto Show
to demonstrate tribrid technology.