There are many opportunities for undergraduate summer research. However, the summer research rarely continues after the summer is over because the project is small, requires same mentor and/or specific equipment. This paper presents a 15-month sustainable energy research conducted by seven undergraduate students. For 2017 REU Summer Internship, three students started this research at Old Dominion University (ODU). They designed and fabricated a prototype of polymer membrane fuel cell with lightweight bipolar plates. The performance of the lightweight fuel cell was characterized using a fuel cell test stand. However, no power output was detected by the first group. After the summer, another three students made a new fuel cell with a different fabrication procedure at Virginia State University. The test results indicated that the 2nd generation lightweight fuel cell was able to generate power. For 2018 REU Summer Internship, another student completed the research at ODU, where again power was successfully generated from the lightweight fuel cell. The research results were presented at a technology and engineering conference. This research followed STEM student assessments on abilities to identify and solve engineering problems; design, experiment, analyze and interpret data; understand professional and ethical responsibility; and communicate effectively. During the research, the participated students acquired an intensive and publishable research experience. It is expected that the participants will pursue advanced study on sustainable energy such as fuel cell in their future professional and/or academic career.
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