A capstone project made by former Red Deer Polytechnic students Kyle Victor, Carson West and Nathan Crombie was recently named a finalist for ASET’s Capstone Project of the Year award. (Contributed photo)

A capstone project made by former Red Deer Polytechnic students Kyle Victor, Carson West and Nathan Crombie was recently named a finalist for ASET’s Capstone Project of the Year award. (Contributed photo)

Red Deer Polytechnic team named finalist for capstone project of the year

A capstone project created by a former team of Red Deer Polytechnic students has received major recognition from the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).

The team of engineering technology students Kyle Victor, Carson West and Nathan Crombie was recently named one of the eight finalists for ASET’s Capstone Project of the Year award.

“Our project is designed to be an automatic solar panel cleaner that just runs off of compressed air,” Victor explained.

“It would run automatically based on a program we put into it, so you wouldn’t have to turn it off or on. It would just work on its own at certain time intervals.”

In the team’s prototype, one pneumatic air sprayer was attached on the top of the solar panel and another in the middle. An air compressor with tubing is connected to the sprayers and an Arduino kit, which is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software, is programmed to run a timed sequence for each sprayer.

When the process starts, the top sprayer will spray air for a few seconds. When the dust is cleared off the top half of the panel, the top sprayer shuts off and the middle sprayer turns on for a few seconds to carry the already moving dust off the rest of the panel.

In the engineering technology program, students are given a list of capstone projects and then they vote for the ones they want to work on the most. Victor, West and Crombie were put into a group and tasked with designing a solar panel cleaner, and ensuring it was cheaper and more efficient than cleaning systems currently available.

ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh said the former RDP team must be commended for “their clear-eyed approach to resolving a practical issue” associated with solar energy.

“It represents a significant step forward in maximizing efficiency of an important clean energy source, and demonstrates the combination of practicality and innovation that characterizes the engineering technology profession,” said Cavanaugh.

The Capstone Project of the Year Award was established by ASET in 2017 in response to member interest in back-to-school stories about capstone projects undertaken by teams of engineering technology students from RDP, NAIT, SAIT and Lethbridge College as part of their end-of-program requirements.

The winning project will be announced later this year.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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