June 16, 2017

Duke Energy Academy immersing high schoolers, teachers in STEM experiences

Duke academy Nikhil Carneiro, a Purdue freshman and Duke Energy Academy counselor, tests a drone for one of the academy's hands-on activities. Drones are used for many different applications including monitoring critical energy infrastructure. Carneiro, who is studying mechanical engineering, participated in the 2015 Duke Energy Academy at Purdue as a high school student. (Photo provided) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —Forty-nine high school students, 26 teachers, and four mentor teachers are expected at the Purdue West Lafayette campus for a weeklong immersive learning experience in energy June 18-24.

The Duke Energy Academy is returning to Purdue for its sixth annual event. Highlights include hands-on activities such as snap circuits, wind turbine challenges and drone-flying experiences, as well as energy education exercises including a photovoltaic challenge, wind farm challenge, grid challenge and a Lego Mindstorm challenge.

This year many of the hands-on activities will be captured in real-time using Facebook Live. Viewers can view live videos at https://www.facebook.com/TheEnergyAcademyAtPurdue.

Students and teachers also will have the opportunity to tour energy-related facilities. Tours include the Tipmont REMC solar farm in Linden, Indiana, and the Cayuga (Indiana) Power Plant.

During the week, participants will attend lectures by Purdue faculty, energy industry leaders and policy experts. These session topics include policy, the future of the energy industry, sustainability and careers. 

"A new activity introduced during this year is the use of drones for monitoring energy infrastructure," said Pankaj Sharma, managing director of the Energy Center. "Drones equipped with cameras could be used for monitoring broken power lines, transmission and distribution centers, inventory, gas emission, solar/wind farm and power plants. We are partnering with ArcelorMittal to inspire future leaders in energy."

A key focus of the academy is student research projects led by faculty and their graduate students in their fields:

* The Science of Photovoltaic Solar Cells: Fabrication and Characterization of Dye Sensitized Solar Cells from Berries, by Rakesh Agrawal.

* Rechargeable Batteries with Advanced Electrode Materials, by Vilas Pol.

* Fuel Cell and Transmission Electron Microscope: Catalysts for Energy Innovation, by Volkan Ortalan, Raj Gounder and Jeffrey Greeley.

* Nuclear Batteries: Theory of Operation, Characterization Methods, and Uses in Navy & Defense, by Shripad Revankar and Tom Adams.

* Understanding Nuclear Fuel and Radiation Decay Chains, by Robert Bean.

* Plant Biomass to Biofuel, by Nate Mosier; Energy Efficient Cooling Solutions, by Amy Marconnet.

* Synthesis of ZnO Nanofibers for Thermoelectric and Piezoelectric Applications, by Na Lu.

The Energy Academy at Purdue is made possible through primary funding provided since 2012 by the Duke Energy Foundation and corporate sponsorships that allow participants to attend the academy free of charge.

Other co-sponsors and supporters for the Academy include ArcelorMittal, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue; Bowen Engineering; CMS Energy; Chemical Engineering, Purdue; Civil Engineering, Purdue; Duke Energy; Energy Center, Discovery Park, Purdue; Kidwind Project; Laboratory of Renewable Resource Engineering, Purdue; Materials Engineering, Purdue; Mechanical Engineering, Purdue; Nuclear Engineering, Purdue; Purdue Policy Research Institute; Renewable Energy Extension, Purdue; Subaru of Indiana Automotive; Tate & Lyle; Tipmont REMC; and Youth Development and Agricultural Education, Purdue.

The academy is organized by Purdue’s Energy Center, a Discovery Park research center focused on advancing energy sciences and engineering for sustainable energy solutions. Discovery Park is an open laboratory for interdisciplinary collaboration at Purdue focused on the grand challenges of global health, global security and those that lie at the nexus of sustainable energy, world food supply and the environment. Large-scale interdisciplinary research is carried out in Discovery Park with an emphasis to drive innovations to the marketplace. Faculty, students and staff gain experience and access to the university’s entrepreneurial programs. 

Media Contacts: Phillip Fiorini, Purdue University, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu
Angeline Protogere, 317-838-1338, angeline.protogere@duke-energy.com 

Writer: Sarah Anderson, 765-494-1386, andersons@purdue.edu

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

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