To promote engineering and sustainable development, the IEEE Student Chapter of the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico will design and implement a “Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development Laboratory” (RESDL) educational laboratory. The facility will function as a shared meeting space for all High Schools and members in Puerto Rico participating in the Puerto Rico Institute of Robotics (PRIOR). Students will be able to directly work with university students and IEEE faculty members to cultivate a higher appreciation for science, technology, engineering, and math. They will also gain valuable skills in teamwork and leadership.
Selected students from the IEEE student chapter of PUPR will work on the design and construction of the facility as part of their capstone engineering course. The laboratory will then be built and managed in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Institute of Robotics (PRIOR), a non-profit group which promotes continued interest in areas of science, technology, math, and engineering for students in “form k-12” to twelfth grade. Within the RESDL facility, high school students from the ninth to twelfth grade levels will be able to visit in groups to experience various programs and workshops on a schedule leading up to a major project.
The complete project involves the development of the first educational facility in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to provide workshops in renewable energy, management of solid waste, sustainable development and automation. The facility will be equipped with solar tracking photovoltaic panels, a windmill and an automated food waste digester. These technologies are to be studied in order to promote its use in individual homes and urban communities. Each student group will design a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) application related to available recourses in this educational facility. The application will include a control panel, ladder diagram, and input and output wiring.
The major project will involve the development of a completely automated anaerobic digester, a technology that can produce renewable fuel biogas for energy, while converting solid organic waste into valuable plant fertilizer. This device could then be installed into individual homes and urban communities. Each student group will design a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) application which will automate the proposed home anaerobic digester. The application will include a control panel, ladder diagram, and input and output wiring.
The project development process will enhance the students’ understanding of environmental studies, such as solid waste management, sustainability, renewable and non renewable resources, as well as automation. Overall, the project will aim to inspire the students to become more environmentally conscience as they move forward in to professional fields.
The scheduled workshops for students visiting the RESDL would include: IEEE and its history, global warming and its causes, green automation technology, anaerobic digestion principles, as well as time for the final project.
The developers of this project include:
- Bryan A. Sanchez Marcum
- Wencelao Lopez Cruz
- Fernando Perez Bracetti
- John Megna