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September 7, 2012

Purdue creates graduate certificate in hybrid vehicles

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University has launched a new graduate engineering certificate program in hybrid vehicles, a specialty that is expected to grow in demand as hybrids become more common.

"This program is a great example of integrating research and education," said Leah H. Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering and Ransburg Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "The program gives students technical depth and also breadth, and is responsive to industry needs."

The new certificate program is administered by the School of Mechanical Engineering but open to any graduate student in engineering.

"We expect the program to grow and become permanent at Purdue," said Gregory Shaver, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. "After the program ramps up, we hope to issue 10 certificates per year and to have 30 students enrolled at any given time."

Participants will be required to take one course in each of three areas: the architecture, or the integrated layout of the powertrain, which consists of the engine, electric or hydraulic motor and generator, transmission and other components; energy storage and controls, with courses focused on batteries or the design of algorithms needed to control the system; and "prime movers," which refers to the design of engines, electric motors and generators, hydraulic motors and pumps, and systems that capture braking energy with flywheels. The systems use electric motors as generators while the vehicle is braking, producing power to recharge the battery pack.

The Hybrid Vehicle Systems Certificate program was developed through the Hoosier Heavy Hybrid Center of Excellence (H3CoE), which was formed last year and funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Graduate Automotive Technology Education initiative.

The center will hold a hybrid vehicles workshop at Purdue on Sept. 12. Experts from industry and academia will gather to discuss the latest technologies and challenges for hybrid trucks and cars. Engineers from Cummins Inc., Allison Transmission Inc. and Navistar International Corp., will give talks to address the promise and challenges facing widespread use of hybrid technologies in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The center is leading an effort to cut fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in half for commercial vehicles by perfecting hybrid technologies for the world's burgeoning bus and truck fleets. Buses and trucks, particularly vehicles used to transport goods, represent a huge percentage of global fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions, said Shaver, who co-directs the center with Maryam Saeedifard, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The center falls under the umbrella of the Purdue Energy Center Advanced Ground Vehicle Power and Energy Storage initiatives. More information about the workshop is available by contacting Pankaj Sharma, managing director of the Energy Center, 765-496-7452, sharma@purdue.edu.

The workshop will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121, at the university's Discovery Park. Registration is free but limited to students and faculty members who are working in, or interested in areas related to medium and heavy duty hybrid vehicles. Seating is limited, and prior registration is needed by Sept. 11 before 9 a.m. (The registration site is https://purdue.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_etTQJ7rtTKBnStf)

Registered students will have an opportunity to meet with representatives from companies. A luncheon will include a presentation about future center activities, including industry co-funded projects.

The Purdue center is one of seven "centers of excellence" at U.S. colleges, universities and research institutions formed through $6.4 million in DOE funding over the next five years.

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Sources: Gregory M. Shaver, 765-494-9342, gshaver@ecn.purdue.edu

Leah Jamieson, 765-494-5346, lhj@purdue.edu

Pankaj Sharma, 765-496-7452, sharma@purdue.edu

Related websites:
News release about the H3CoE