Engineering Extreme Energy

Dates: July 20-31, 2015

Cost: $700

Every person on earth uses energy in one form or another. In the developed world, electricity is arguably the most important form of energy that we consume. Have you ever wondered how electricity is made, managed and delivered to us? Do you wonder why we don't just build more solar panels and windmills to meet our energy needs? This module will give you a balanced understanding of how man-made and natural energy sources are used to produce electricity today and what researchers are doing to harvest new energy sources for the future. Together we will explore how a modern electric power grid works through hands-on experiments in the classroom and by visiting fossil fuel power plants, solar arrays, wind farms, a unique geothermal facility and the world's largest grid connected battery. Virtually every modern energy topic will be presented in an interactive, understandable and relatable manner. We will also visit cutting edge research facilities and learn how new technology is being used to generate and conserve power. Students will have many opportunities to meet with and talk to engineers, researchers, scientists and technicians working at all levels in the power and energy industries.

Classroom activities will involve building, operating and measuring electricity generating devices and connecting them to a computer-controlled grid that will supply a miniature "live" community. To emphasize the importance of modern computer technology in engineering solutions, each student will be provided with a small but powerful Arduino microcomputer development kit that they will use to build and program a variety of energy related projects in the classroom. No prior computer experience is necessary other than basic PC/Mac exposure. Upon completion of the course, the students may take these kits home with them and continue to explore this exciting new technology by participating in the unique online community of "Makers".

The experience obtained from this module will provide the student with a keen understanding of the most challenging problems in energy today while arming them with the knowledge and reasoning skills to independently contemplate future solutions. Students will obtain a practical understanding of education and career paths in science, technology, engineering and math while obtaining an understanding of the supreme importance of technology in everyday life. Both instructors are passionate engineers with experience in mechanical, electrical, nuclear, computer science, mass marketing and biomedical systems and have worked on projects that span the globe.


Charles Olszewski

Charles Olszewski has over 30 years of engineering and executive management experience in the power and communications industries. As a registered Professional Engineer, Charles has managed a diverse portfolio of multi-million dollar projects in fossil and nuclear power generation and has led software development projects for power plant simulators, nuclear safety systems as well as advanced marketing communications systems. As a child, Charles was inspired by the engineering marvels developed during the race to the moon in the 1960's and driven by the challenges posed by the energy crisis of the early 1970's. Charles obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Mechanical Engineering specializing in thermodynamics. As a strong believer in continuing education, Charles holds advanced degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marquette University in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering. As the Chief Technology Officer for an alternative energy corporation, Charles is overseeing the deployment of advanced thermal-plasma based gasification technology that will turn common household trash into renewable base-load electric power. The negative carbon footprint power plant will completely destroy the waste generated by a city of 700,000 people while providing all the electric power needs for 48,000 households. Charles will encourage students to pursue careers in science and technology by showing them many potential pathways and rewards.

Sara Falcone

Sara Falcone is a 2015 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and minor in Architecture. During a semester abroad, she studied Energy Science and Technology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). During the summer of 2014 she worked manufacturing solar panel hardware in Shenzhen, China and installing panels for off-grid families in the rural Philippines. Growing up in Anchorage Sara attended ASRA in 2008, where she was initially inspired to pursue a career in Engineering. Since ASRA she has continued her passion for building things and helped spread excitement for STEAM fields through multiple outreach workshops .

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