A solar education trailer planned and designed by New Mexico Tech mechanical engineering faculty, students and others, and built by ACE Leadership High School students will be featured at the American Solar Energy Society’s SOLAR 2022 National Conference.
The conference, which will be held from June 21 to 24 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, will include the Tech-designed SunChaser 2K22, along with solar energy workshops, exhibits, electric vehicle show and kids’ activities.
The SunChaser 2K22 will exhibit ways that renewable energy can be used in homes and businesses across New Mexico, according to Ashok Ghosh, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at New Mexico Tech and New Mexico Solar Energy Association (NMSEA) president. The engineering design for the vehicle was completed by Tech mechanical engineering graduate student Gabriel Maestas and undergraduate interns Dana Figueroa, Seth Sisneros, Isaac Flores, Yazbeth Montoya and Frank Maldonado. The design was then passed along to be constructed by ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) Leadership High School students in Albuquerque.
“This is part of New Mexico Solar Energy Association’s Education Outreach effort,” Ghosh said. “The goal of this project is to meet all five mission goals of any educational outreach program – inspire, educate, employ, engage and collaborate.”
Ghosh said the project-based education initiative, which began in fall 2021, did more than improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills of the students involved from Tech and ACE High School.
“It also created a productive dialogue regarding how a large number of institutions collaborate and complement each other to make any project a success,” he said.
During the next two semesters, the SunChaser is expected to be housed at Tech campus, where mechanical engineering students will complete work on the educational tool to make it ready to visit New Mexico schools.
The Solar Fiesta is one part of the weeklong Solar 2022 Conference at UNM from June 21 to 24, sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and its state chapter, the New Mexico Solar Energy Association (NMSEA).