Rowan University awards COE student researchers

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Rowan University presented its 2013 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and $500 to senior mechanical engineering students Joseph Calogero of Bridgewater, N.J., and Ryan Bandura of Washington Township, N.J.

Rowan University presented its 2013 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and $500 to senior mechanical engineering students Joseph Calogero of Bridgewater, N.J., and Ryan Bandura of Washington Township, N.J.

The University presented the annual award to the students for their work on “Plug-In Rechargeable Electric Vehicle Systems (PREVS),” a novel design of electric vehicle charging stations.

For three semesters, Calogero and Bandura led a team of three other students majoring in electrical and computer engineering and computer science. The team conceived and executed an independent research project, obtained competitively awarded internal funding, constructed multiple prototypes, and published and presented their findings at conferences sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education, according to the group’s advisor, chemical engineering professor Dr. Gautam Pillay.

According to the students, “One of the largest obstacles [to acceptance of electric vehicles] is charging availability. In addition, potential electric vehicle customers are deterred by ‘range anxiety,’ a result of limited range in conjunction with extensive charging time. Inability to instantaneously ‘fill the tank’ only amplifies the issue of reduced range. This issue became the focus of our entrepreneurial engineering clinic project starting in spring 2011. We then continued the idea through junior and senior engineering clinic.”

The team devised a charging station that could help to ease range anxiety and developed a system that could streamline the charging process, deter vandalism and survive natural disasters. Their creation is a subterranean enclosure capable of autonomously charging vehicles with very little human interaction, using the vehicle’s built-in Bluetooth to communicate with the device and to extend a charging arm, making contact with a port under the vehicle.

“The concept has significant potential and also serves as a powerful example of how undergraduate students can create a solution to a major problem in society, obtain funding and lead research independently for an extended period of time,” Calogero explained. “I hope other students and faculty at Rowan and other engineering schools can be inspired by our story and seek opportunities similar to what we were given and the experiences we gained. I’m very excited to be honored with the recognition of this award.”

“Although our team will not be continuing the work on this project, we concluded that this is a viable technology, and future work would have merit.  Joe and I will be continuing our engineering education in graduate school, and this project helped us prepare better to continue our studies at the next level,” said Bandura.

Calogero will be attending The Pennsylvania State University in the fall of 2013 to begin working towards his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. Bandura has been accepted to pursue his master’s degree at several prestigious institutions.

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