Supplies of conventional fossil fuels are rapidly being depleted and their by-products, which contain various forms of pollution, are contributing to global warming. It is necessary therefore to investigate the use of renewable energy sources which can be readily replenished and are ecologically safe.
These sources such as the sun, wind and water are plentiful and their use is safe but it is difficult to produce sufficient energy to replace conventional fuels. It is essential that students understand not only how these sources can be used to produce electrical energy but also understand the efficiency of the conversion process and the limitations of their use.
Alecop produces a range of 3 similar applications for students to gain an understanding of this most important subject. These cover Solar Energy, Wind Energy and Fuel Cells. The equipment is laboratory scale but suffi ciently large to allow students to make real measurements. The key benefits offered by these experiments are:
- They can be used in a laboratory without the need for direct sunlight or a source of wind or alternatively they can be used outside when climate conditions allow.
- Real measurements of input and outputs can be made using conventional instruments or virtual instruments on a PC based on NI LabVIEW™ applications.
- Investigation of loads, battery charging and safety interlocks when too little or too much energy is produced.
- Inter-connections kept to a minimum to aid understanding and configurations are automatic when used with the Virtual Instruments.