This work reviews efforts undertaken with funding from a State of Michigan Energy Office Student Internship grant. The authors document, review and assesse the major aspects of this undergraduate engineering student energy-focused summer internship. These components ranged from the nature of the RFP and, securing the grant, hiring an undergraduate engineering student, the development of the possible energy usage projection tool developed by the summer intern; and finally the energy usage tool itself and the validation of the tool as used by Michigan Agricultural Commodities, Inc. (MAC) personnel.
The student internship efforts capitalizes on previous activities from 2012 through 2014 when Lawrence Technological University had undertaken a major energy audit and energy study with MAC, at their facilities in Marlette, Michigan. In the spring of 2015 the State of Michigan Energy Office offered a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) to universities within the state for one fully-funded grant for an engineering undergraduate student summer internship. The grant RFP stipulated that the undergraduate engineering student intern work on a project focusing on energy usage and savings specifically in the agriculture industry in the State of Michigan. Fortunately, over the past three years Lawrence Technological University has been undertaking energy usage assessments and audits of a large grain elevator facility in Marlette, Michigan, that is owned and operated by the Michigan Agricultural Commodities (MAC) Corporation. The previous three-year’s work undertaken by Lawrence Tech had resulted in significant data collection and had provided an excellent foundation for what to do next to obtain possible energy savings. The process options at the grain facility in Marlette are many, are complex, and each carries with it energy costs that are not always understood. But up to this 2015 State proposed RFP internship, no addition funding resources were available to MAC or Lawrence Tech to finally develop and implement an appropriate energy savings planning tool that could be used by the MAC personnel for accurate projected energy usages for the receiving, routing and storage of gain at their facility.
Such applied engineering internships are of great value to the student and to industry, so a discussion of the lessons learned are provided by the undergraduate engineering student herself, along with a commentary of both the academic and applied engineering knowledge gained by such internships are also presented. This information will be of interest to engineering faculty at other colleges and universities who might wish to successfully pursue other internship opportunities for their engineering students in other areas of interest.
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