Solar Electric Race Vehicle Digital Twin research presented at IEEE Southeastcon

My busy Spring schedule wouldn’t allow me to attend IEEE Southeastcon in Atlanta in person. Still, I was able to present on some of the work that Brad Baer did for his MS Thesis, developing a digital twin of a Solar Electric Racing Vehicle based on Appalachian State’s entry in the American Solar Challenge.

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NREL Benchtop Wave Energy Test Platform

An exciting test setup to help bridge the divide between the simulation and testing of wave energy converters. It also exciting to see Casey Nichols (AEEE ’19) making contributions on another cool NREL project.

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Woodworking by Kyle

So the research assistants that I employ usually have a history of doing cool things before the met me. They do good work while they work for me and then go on to do cool things after they move on from the research group. Kyle Stahler is no exception. An avid woodworker, he has cranked out some exciting pieces since graduating back in May. If you are interested in more of his work, the best way to catch him is

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UMERC 2023 Conference

The first part of October saw me travel to Durham, New Hampshire with Nils for the University Marine Energy Research Community 2023 Conference. The last time I was at UNH was for tank testing during the pandemic, so it was nice to see a more lively campus this time. As expected the Atlantic Marine Energy Center (AMEC) and Pacific Ocean Energy Trust (POET) were excellent hosts for the event.

Before making our way to UNH, Nils and I stopped in Boston for a tour of PTC arranged by Philip Bard. Philip graduated from the Applied Energy and Electromechanical Engineering program several years back and has been creating awesome demos that show the interoperability of PTC products that are used across the globe.

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INDEEP Success

Water Bros Desal has branched out with another successful American-Made Challenge on Herox. This topic is still focused on marine energy, but a shift from the desalination work we did in the Waves to Water Competition. In this competition, Landon and I partnered with Michael Dickey at NC State University, who has done some exciting work with deformable double layer electrodes. These electrodes could be the special ingredient that powers distributed embedded energy converter technologies in the future. We are excited about the prospects for the technology and the chance to work with another NC Renewable Ocean Energy Program researcher.

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Giving thanks for Nils

A crazy Fall schedule that included a fair bit of travel has me behind on posting to the website, but the Thanksgiving holiday is an appropriate time for a post about Nils Horneff. Nils joined Water Bros Desal in April as an engineering research assistant from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Karlsruhe, Germany. He came with a strong background in numerical modeling that we wanted to leverage to improve the rigor of our wave energy converter (WEC) modeling.

Within a couple of weeks of his arrival, we had him helping craft responses to reviewer queries on our proposal to the Department of Energy for a 4-year project to do long-duration testing of a ruggedized version of our Waves to Water design. Beyond the WEC modeling work, Nils was also great a disseminating our work through technical conferences like the Appalachian Energy Summit in Boone, NC and the University Marine Energy Research Community conference in Durham, New Hampshire. I even had him pop in as a fresh set of eyes and technical consultant on my North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program projects.

Landon and I are thankful for the technical contributions that Nils made and the friendships that developed before Nils returned to Germany in the middle of October.

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End of Summer Students/Alumni Gathering

We were glad to host students and research group alumni for food and games to welcome a new crop of research assistants before Nils has to head back to Germany at the end of September. This time I actually managed to capture a few pictures and one humorous exchange over the gaming table….

Student 1: This game is purely random.
Student 2: If it is random, why do the people with PhDs have most of the chips?

Nils, Naomi, Jack, Bradley, and Mackay in the foreground. Research alums and guests in the back.
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