Creighton University Energy Technology Program

Creighton University's new Energy Technology Program welcomed its first class of students in Fall 2011. This major prepares students for the cutting-edge fields of renewable energy and sustainable design, and is based on Creighton's Jesuit roots in Ignatian pedagogy. In this Ignatian model, teachers accompany learners in the pursuit of knowledge, awareness, and compassion. This model stresses personalized programs, active engagement of the student, and reflection on the experience.

Program goal

Creighton faculty consulted granduate schools and employers and asked: What skills and abilities will a successful graduate have? Employers said they wanted graduates who are lifelong learners, possess math and science competency, and are successful team workers. To meet these goals, this program is built on solving real problems within small groups, an effective method for teaching real-world technical and interpersonal skills.

Four new labs

The Energy Technology major includes four new labs, intended to encourage hands-on learning both indoors and outdoors. These labs are designed to reinforce mathematical and scientific concepts. The four labs cover electrical testing and measurement, computer simulations, design and rapid prototyping, and solid state chemistry / materials science.

Collaboration with Olin

Creighton's Energy Technology Program has an ongoing collaboration with Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, the #8 engineering school in the country. Olin is a pioneer in hands-on teaching, in a way that is very compatible with Ignatian pedagogy.

Funding

Primarily, this project was made possible by the Department of Energy, which has provided $1.2 million for solar arrays and an additional $1.2 million for curriculum development. The Omaha Public Power District contributed approximately $250,000 for wind generators and additional solar capacity. Additional money for the development of educational materials was provided by Nebraska EPSCoR.

Curriculum

The proposed curriculum includes Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees.

BA with a Major in Sustainable Energy

This course of study is intended for students who wish to pursue a career in sustainability, energy policy or law.

Learning Objectives:

  • Graduates will be able to explain the principles of energy and its transfer, the production of solar energy and its distribution, the human and political factors in changing the way that energy is supplied.
  • Graduates will be able to explain the engineering design process and will have hands-on experience with the design process.
  • Graduates will have a knowledge of Ignatian Pedagogy and will have developed related life-long learning skills.
  • Graduates will be able to communicate technology to a wide variety of audiences.
  • Graduates will be able to explain effective project team operation and will have worked effectively in this environment.
  • Graduates should emerge from the program having demonstrated a commitment to social and global responsibility including an awareness of Catholic Social Teaching.
  • Graduates will demonstrate advanced problem solving skills.
  • Graduates will have knowledge of how to implement the social science and ethical understanding relevant to a program like this that promotes cultural change.
  • Graduates will have obtained the competencies needed for graduate study in policy, law or business or an entry level position in a sustainability related field.

Required Courses:

The following General Education (Core) courses are also part of the program:

The list of required includes courses that can be used to address two of the core Theology courses, the core Science requirement, the core Mathematics requirement, the core Introductory Composition requirement, the core Communication requirement, part of the Core History requirement, the Senior Perspective requirement and both courses in the Social Sciences core.

Electives (18 credits from the following):

  • ART 255 Welded Metal Sculpture II
  • ART 256 Bronze Casting II
  • ART 311 Intermediate Ceramics I
  • ART 312 Intermediate Ceramics II
  • AFS 307/ANT 307/SOC 307/EVS 307 Demography: World Population Issues
  • AMS 312/HAP 312/SOC 312 Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
  • ANT 314/SOC 314 Statistics for the Social Sciences
  • AMS 316/ANT 316/SOC 316/NAS 316 Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences
  • ANT 350/SOC 350 Social Change
  • ANT 424/NAS 424/SRP 424/SOC 424 Sustainability and Rural America
  • BUS 201 Legal Environment of Business
  • BUS 312 Innovation and Creativity
  • BUS 314 Business Planning for Social Entrepreneurs
  • BUS 479 Catholic Social Teaching and Social Entrepreneurship
  • COM 353 Speaking Strategies for the Organization
  • COM 362 Small Group Communication
  • ECO 353/EVS 353 Environmental Economics
  • ERG 131 Installation and Maintenance of Photovoltaic Systems
  • ERG 132 Convection and Passive Solar Energy Systems
  • ERG 493 Directed Independent Readings
  • ERG 495 Directed Independent Study
  • ERG 497 Directed Independent Research
  • ERG 595 Special Topics in Energy Studies
  • ENG 315 Technical and Professional Writing
  • ENG 381 Literature and the Environment
  • ENG 440 Introduction to Green Cultural Studies
  • EVS 333/PLS 333 Environmental Politics and Policy
  • EVS 354/PHL 354 Environmental Ethics
  • EVS 374 Management of Environmental Risk
  • EVS 452/JMC 452/PHL 452/SRP 452 Science, Media and Risk
  • HRS 303 Sources and Methods: Fuzzy Math Logic
  • HRS 311 Sources and Methods: Graph Theory
  • HRS 312 Sources and Methods: Gödel, Escher and Bach
  • HRS 334 Sources and Methods: Green Chemistry and Sustainability
  • HRS 342 Sources and Methods: Modeling Global Issues
  • JMC 361 Technical Public Relations Writing
  • PHY 591 Seminar in Engineering
  • PLS 235 Interest Group Politics
  • PLS 310 Political Science Research Methods
  • PLS 331 Managing Public and Non-profit Sectors
  • PLS 436 Politics and Ethics of Science and Technology
  • PLS 463 Game Theory and Political Choice
  • PLS 520 Statistical Methods for Public Administration and Policy Analysis
  • SOC 335 Technology and Human Values
  • SOC 570 Geographic Information Systems
  • SRP 437 Environment, Race, Class and Gender
  • THL 565 Catholic Social Teaching

BS with a Major in Energy Science

This course of study is intended for students interested in a science, math and/or engineering career.

Learning Objectives:

  • Graduates will be able to explain the principles of energy and its transfer, the production of solar energy and its distribution, the human and political factors in changing the way that energy is supplied.
  • Graduates will be able to explain the engineering design process and will have hands-on experience with the design process.
  • Graduates will have a knowledge of Ignatian Pedagogy and will have developed related life-long learning skills.
  • Graduates will be able to communicate technology to a wide variety of audiences.
  • Graduates will be able to explain effective project team operation and will have worked effectively in this environment.
  • Graduates should emerge from the program having demonstrated a commitment to social and global responsibility including an awareness of Catholic Social Teaching.
  • Graduates will demonstrate advanced problem solving skills.
  • Graduates will know the principles of solar cell production and will have experience with at least one production process.
  • Graduates will have obtained the competencies needed for graduate study in at least one area of science, mathematics or engineering or an entry level position in a technology related field.

Required Courses in the Major:

The following courses were developed to fulfill the General Education (Core) requirements:

The list of required includes courses that can be used to address two of the core Theology courses, the core Science requirement, the core Mathematics requirement, the core Introductory Composition requirement, the core Communication requirement, part of the the Core History requirement, the Senior Perspective requirement and one course in the Social Sciences core.

Electives (17 credits from the following):

  • ATS 315 Computer Applications in Meteorology
  • ATS 460/EVS 460 Terrestrial Remote Sensing
  • ATS 510 Introduction to Physical Meteorology
  • ATS 516 Computer Methods in Atmospheric Sciences
  • ATS 531 Operational Prediction Models
  • ATS 548/EVS 548 Introduction to Solar-Terrestrial Environment
  • ATS 564 Statistical Applications in the Atmospheric Sciences
  • ATS 570 Quantitative Methods in the Atmospheric Sciences
  • ATS 597/ERG 597 Computer Models for Short Term Weather Forecasting
  • BUS 201 Legal Environment of Business
  • BUS 312 Innovation and Creativity
  • BUS 314 Business Planning for Social Entrepreneurs
  • CHM 446 Statistical Mechanics
  • CHM 447 Physical Chemistry of Macromolecules
  • CHM 544 Quantum Chemistry
  • CHM 549 Computational Chemistry
  • CSC 221 Computer Programming I
  • CSC 222 Computer Programming II
  • CSC 331 C Programming and UNIX Environment
  • CSC 414 Introduction to Computer Organization
  • ERG 131 Installation and Maintenance of Photovoltaic Systems
  • ERG 132 Convection and Passive Solar Energy Systems
  • ERG 361 Internship
  • ERG 493 Directed Independent Readings
  • ERG 495 Directed Independent Study
  • ERG 497 Directed Independent Research
  • ERG 551 Grants and Funding for Sustainable Technology
  • ERG 595 Special Topics in Energy Studies
  • ENG 315 Technical Writing
  • EVS 374 Management of Environmental Risk
  • HRS 303 Sources and Methods: Fuzzy Math Logic
  • HRS 311 Sources and Methods: Graph Theory
  • HRS 312 Sources and Methods: Gödel, Escher and Bach
  • HRS 334 Sources and Methods: Green Chemistry and Sustainability
  • HRS 342 Sources and Methods: Modeling Global Issues
  • MTH 529 Linear Algebra
  • MTH 545 Differential Equations
  • MTH 546 Partial Differential Equations
  • MTH 561 Mathematical Statistics I
  • MTH 562 Mathematical Statistics II
  • MTH 593 Complex Analysis
  • PHY 301 Modern Physics
  • PHY 303 Electronics Laboratory
  • PHY 331 Physical Optics
  • PHY 332 Optics Laboratory
  • PHY 471 Classical Mechanics
  • PHY 481 Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHY 521 Electronics for Scientists
  • PHY 522 Electric Circuits
  • PHY 531 Quantum Mechanics
  • PHY 541 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • PHY 551 Mathematical Physics
  • PHY 553 Computational Physics
  • PHY 571 Solid State Physics
  • PHY 572 Solid State Physics Laboratory
  • PHY 591 Seminar in Engineering
  • STA 569 ANOVA and Experimental Design

The elective requirements for the major can be fulfilled in part with up to 12 transfer engineering credits that have been pre-approved

 

Downloadable Proposed Curriculum

The proposed curriculum is available as Microsoft Word documents for both the B.A. degree and the B.S. degree. The document for the B.A. degree includes a sample four-year plan.

Omaha Renewable Energy Project

View of Deglman Solar Panel
Click image to see live webcams.

[Live webcam at Deglman]

In June 2010, with the assistance of funding from the US Department of Energy and the Omaha Public Power District, Creighton University deployed a variety of solar and wind energy collection systems on the grounds of the main campus. Altogether, these collectors are capable of generating approximately 120 kW of clean, renewable energy. The collectors and associated power inverting electronics include a broad spectrum of commercially available architectures chosen as part of student-oriented research project to evaluate the performance of these renewable energy systems in the climate of Nebraska.

Kiewitt Fitness Center Rooftop: 20.5 kW

[Live webcam at Swanson Hall of solar collection site at Kiewit Fitness Center]

Mounted with a southern exposure and a 5 degree inclination, this collection system consists of multiple strips of flexible photovoltaic laminate arrays totaling 143 individual panels (each approximately 23 sq. ft). The laminate is manufactured by Uni-Solar (PVL-144) and the system is partitioned into three sections each of which is converted to ac power using three power inverters manufactured by Fronius (IG-Plus 7.5-1 Uni Inverter).

Cuming Street Parking Lot: 85 kW

[Live webcam at Criss]

This site contains the broadest variety of solar collection architectures and power inversion technologies and, together with an integrated weather monitoring station, serves as the main laboratory for student research activities. Located at this site are:

  • One Watt-Sun (AZ-225) tracking array composed of 16 Sanyo (215N HIT) panels each connected by Enphase (M210) micro inverter with net power 3.4 kW
  • 6 Sanyo (215N HIT) panels (each 13.5 sq. ft. area, 215 W) inverted by a Fronius (IG Plus 3.0-1 UniInverter) inverter with net power 1.3 kW.
  • 32 Sanyo (215N HIT) panels inverted by a Fronius (IG Plus 7.5-1 UniInverter) inverter with net power 6.9 kW.
  • 105 Evergreen Solar (ES-A-210) panels (each 17 sq. ft. area, 210 W) inverted by 3 Fronius (IG Plus 7.5-1 UniInverter) inverter with net power 22 kW.
  • 33 Sharp (ND-U224) panels inverted by a Fronius (IG Plus 7.5-1 UniInverter) inverter with net power 1.4 kW.
  • 33 Schott (Poly 220) panels (18 sq. ft. area, 220 W) inverted by a Fronius (IG Plus 7.5-1 UniInverter) inverter with net power 7.3 kW
  • 6 Sanyo (215N HIT) panels each inverted by Enphase (M210) micro inverter with net power 1.3 kW.
  • 60 Sanyo (215N HIT) panels each inverted by Enphase (M210) micro inverter with net power 13 kW.
  • 72 Sharp (ND-U224) panels each inverted by Enphase (M210) micro inverter with net power 16 kW.
  • 72 Schott (Poly 220) panels each inverted by Enphase (M210) micro inverter with net power 16 kW.

Archives - Follow this link to download daily and yearly records of measurements obtained for the collector systems since their inauguration.

Educational Resources - Follow this link to learn more about energy, electricity and renewable energy sources.

Contact

The interim director is Dr. Michael Cherney.

For information on the academic program contact mcherney@creighton.edu.


Downloads

Description of alternative energy installation, PDF, 8MB

Description of energy technology major, PDF, 5MB