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Renewable Energy Technology

Program Description:  The Renewable Energy Technology (RET) program is designed for students interested in careers in renewable energy technology. Focusing on the practices, skills, and knowledge necessary for employment in the numerous industries associated with the emerging field of renewable energy, RET provides learning experiences through the implementation of an engaged and applied curriculum delivery system that addresses the various processes and services which constitute the industry.  Students will explore the RET industries and the integrated roles played by producers, managers, laborers, regulators, planners, and others in the field.  Educational experiences will include a basic introduction to renewable energy technology as well as basic courses in safety instruction, basic electricity, technical thinking, and a basic mechanics course as well as more advanced courses like biomass and feedstocks, biofuels and bioprocess practices, and process instrumentation. Accordingly, the curriculum and its interaction with professionals in the industry provide students with the knowledge, skills and experience to be successful in the rapidly expanding field.

Renewable Energy Technology

Course Descriptions:

Introduction to Renewable Energy Technology

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction and comprehensive overview of renewable energies, including biomass, geothermal, wind power, solar power, tidal power, nuclear power, fuel cells, and hydropower. Emphasis will be placed on the exploration of principles and concepts as well as the application of renewable energy technologies (RET) through the completion of experiments and design projects in existing and emerging renewable energy technologies. The primary topics include the principles of renewable energy, the future and past of energy consumption, the pros and cons of renewable energy, energy production and costs, energy conversion, energy assessments, fossil fuels, regulations, environmental issues and concerns, energy systems, power systems, calculating efficiency,   alternative energy forms, and the social and cultural impact of renewable energy.

 Industrial Safety

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to industrial safety principles, concepts, and practices. Emphasis is placed on industrial safety, OSHA, and environmental safety regulations.  Students will demonstrate the ability to clearly articulate safety principles and practices, governmental and regulatory compliance, and environmental safety practices. The primary topics include safety regulations, work environments, OSHA compliance, accident prevention, record keeping, safeguards, facility inspection, communication systems, job safety analysis, environmental health and safety, hazardous materials and materials handling, safety awareness, and emergency response.

Basic Mechanics

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the principles involved in the performance of mechanical work. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of Newton's Laws of Motion, the Law of Conservation of Energy, as well as other related scientific principles.  Students will demonstrate the ability to describe work, rate, energy, force, force transformers, momentum, velocity, acceleration, motion, friction, and related concepts as they apply to industrial applications in renewable energy systems as well as other mechanical drive systems and how they might be applied in an industrial setting. Additionally, students will demonstrate the ability to apply such knowledge to assemble, repair, troubleshoot, and complete preventative maintenance on various industrial equipment and technologies often utilized in renewable energy industrial operations.

Biomass and Feedstocks

This course is designed to provide students with content related to the sources, properties, and production of biomass feedstock; harvesting, transportation, storage, and processing. The course includes a detailed study of the form, structure, function, and reproduction of plants and the production, handling, and maintenance of biomass in the alternative fuels industry. Emphasis is placed on the study of types of biomass (i.e., annual crops, forestry byproducts, organic waste, landfill gas, etc.) economic costs, sustainability, waste products, and employment issues. Students will investigate photosynthesis, be introduced to biomass gasification by generating biomass gases, convert energy and mass from one form to another, examine the conditions that produce the highest conversion yields, discover the most efficient manners of producing biodiesel, and identify and conduct experiments with other potential catalysts.

Biofuels and Bioprocess Practices

This course is designed to provide students with a historical perspective and investigations into early applications of biofuels like biodiesel, ethanol, methanol, methane, and hydrogen.  Emphasis is placed on the study of biochemical methods involved in the generation of ethanol, and other biofuels from feedstocks like soybeans, corn, sunflower seeds or canola; as well as biodiesel from animal fats, annual crops, waste vegetable oil, and other waste products. Students will investigate the potential of different raw materials and plants as fuel sources, examine the process through which plant matter is converted into fuel, examine the environmental and social consequences of using various biofuels, and explore emerging and future alternative energy fuels derived from biomass like grass, wheat straw, fungi, and algae.

Process Instrumentation

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to instrumentation and measurement tools utilized in modern biofuels production facilities. The course assists students in developing skills related to the management of technological systems, systems, processes for measuring energy, basic control elements, control systems and circuits, programmable control, control logic, drive systems, open and closed loop circuitry,  transmission devices, storage devices, protection devices, types of control, and line diagrams. Students will demonstrate the ability to use the instruments and technologies of renewable energy technology industries to perform experiments in the laboratory and to solve given problems.

Technical Thinking and Problem Solving

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the process of technical thinking and guides students to make decisions in a technical setting that are more appropriate, clearer, more insightful, and effective. This course assists students in the development of problem solving abilities, troubleshooting abilities, analytical skills, and in their ability to make appropriate and informed decisions related to technical subject matter. Emphasis is placed on the completion of projects, activities, case studies, field assignments, and personal appearances by technicians from renewable energy industries. Students will demonstrate the ability to explore multiple perspectives, implement established procedures, examine established facts and theories, and translate learned procedures and strategies for use in the laboratory, field sites, and work-based sites.

Basic Electricity

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to basic electrical units, concepts, terms, measurement, equipment, and procedures. The course provides students with a foundation in AC and DC electricity, resistance, power, circuitry, voltage, current, capacitance, and inductance. Emphasis is placed on conceptual understanding, safety, electrical measurement, electrical components, circuit development and troubleshooting, and a hands-on understanding of electrical practice delivered in a practical manner. Students will apply learned materials by completing electrical installations, reading blueprints, installing and testing specified equipment, and completing specified safety procedures such as lockout/tagout, etc.

DeWitt Campus, (870) 946-3506  Helena Campus,  (870) 338-6474   Stuttgart Campus (870) 673-4201
Street Address:
PCCUA Helena, Campus Drive, Helena AR 72342| PCCUA DeWitt, 1210 Rice Belt Ave, DeWitt AR 72042| PCCUA Stuttgart, 2807 Hwy 165 South, Stuttgart, AR  72160-2408