Mechatronics engineering and renewable energy systemsJuly 27, 2020
As we are all aware, there are a finite number of resources on earth. As new products are created, it’s important that engineers look to resources that are sustainable and renewable. Fortunately, mechatronics engineers are well-positioned to provide products that involve renewable energy systems.
Though one of the older technologies utilizing a renewable resource, mechatronics engineers have made solar power more efficient and accessible. One of the biggest issues with utilizing solar energy is maintaining an efficient conversion rate of incoming sun to energy output without prohibitive costs.
NI, formerly National Instruments, has created smart grid technology to help mechatronics engineers “create a smarter grid to improve grid integration of renewable energy sources, implement automated analytics, advance situation awareness, and improve overall energy efficiency.”
Generating power from wind is not as simple as hoping the wind spins a turbine to produce electricity. “It combines the aerodynamics of rotor design, the mechanics of a gear reduction system, the electromagnetics of an electric generator and the power electronics system for output power conditioning and synchronization to the utility grid system,” says Steve Meyer in The Robot Report.
Mechatronics engineers working on wind power also need to ensure systems can respond correctly to varying speeds of winds and that all equipment can be supported and maintained atop a 150 tall tower. Combining all aspects of mechatronics, designing and producing wind turbines is a challenge for any mechatronics engineer.
Electric and Hybrid Cars
In perhaps the widest used renewable energy system, electric and hybrid cars would not be possible without mechatronics engineering.
An article in EVreporter states that engineers with the cross-discipline knowledge mechatronics engineers are known for are in demand.
“Professionals with cross-sectional expertise in chemical engineering, electronics, embedded software and electrical engineering are set to be highly sought after,” says the article. “This is the reason that Mechatronics Engineering, a multi-disciplinary branch is gaining traction when it comes to hiring fresh graduates for the EV industry.”
With over 5 million hybrid vehicles in the United States and nearly 1.5 million plug-in electric vehicles, the demand for mechatronics engineers in the automotive industry will only continue to grow.
Mechatronics engineers, with their understanding of control systems, computer systems, robotics, electronics, and product engineering, are poised to create the next great advance in renewable energy.
Capitol Tech offers bachelor’s degree programs in mechatronics engineering and mechatronics and robotics engineering technology. Students pursuing mechatronics engineering will have an opportunity to take courses such as Electronics and Instrumentation where they will be introduced to analysis of electronic circuits and input mechanism of various sensors, design of analog signal conditioning systems based on the system requirement, as well as understanding the theory and the art of modern instrumentation and measurements (I&M) systems.
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