$35,000 Square-D Matching Grant Makes Energy Management Lab Possible



May 20, 2005 – Thanks to a $35,000 matching grant from Square-D, an Energy Management Laboratory opened this spring in the School of Polytechnic Studies located in the Otto and Della Seabaugh Polytechnic Building at Southeast Missouri State University.

The $70,000 lab is the cornerstone of Southeast’s new Energy Management program and is serving students enrolled in the Electrical and Control Engineering Technology program. The lab also serves graduate students in the Industrial Management program and those employed in industry in the Southeast Missouri region and beyond.

The matching funds will cover the cost of purchasing industrial instrumentation, including energy meters, power monitoring systems, a power server, current transformers and portable power monitoring systems.

“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Square-D for significantly elevating the quality of our programs,” said Dr. Ragu Athinarayanan, chair of the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology. “Our students and industries throughout this region are the direct beneficiaries of their generosity.”

“The Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology also would like to extend its thanks to Cape Electrical Supply Co., Inc., for its work with Square-D to make the matching grant possible,” he said.

Cape Electrical Supply is a Square-D distributor in this area.

Dr. Chenggang Mei, assistant professor of industrial and engineering technology, and a Certified Energy Manager, said Square-D has been instrumental in the development of the department’s Energy Management program.

“Square-D’s previous financial support has helped us in developing ET470, an energy management course, which will help in raising awareness about energy issues in the Southeast Missouri region. We appreciate their continued support.”

Southeast’s Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology is using the lab equipment to educate current and future members of the workforce on energy management and power study capabilities. The new Electrical and Control Engineering Technology program is addressing regional needs in the areas of control, automation, electromechanical systems, sensing systems, energy management and motor drives systems.

“The new program is expected to meet training needs and produce graduates who are skilled in design, implementation, control and monitoring of systems using cutting edge technologies,” Athinarayanan said.

 “Graduates of our program will become the future technologists and engineers for many of the industries we serve in the Southeast Missouri region,” he said. “They will be the future authorities on matters relating to energy usage within their institutions.”

Athinarayanan said the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology will become a Center for Energy Management and Power Studies for the Southeast Missouri region.

“Industries will be able to use our Technology Resource Center, lab equipment and faculty expertise to test ‘energy conservation’ ideas before they are implemented on plant floors,” he said.

Athinarayanan said the Energy Management Lab will significantly benefit industries in this region as energy deregulation laws begin affecting Southeast Missouri. He added that the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology and the Technology Resource Center will act as catalysts to raise awareness and educate employees in area industry on monitoring and implementing energy saving measures using available technologies.

The new lab is being used to provide training, workshops and seminars for current students and employees in area industries, thanks to a Department of Labor Workforce Development grant administered through the School of Polytechnic Studies. Faculty in the Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology, Square-D and Ameren officials, along with experts in the field of energy management, conduct the training for industry. The goal of the grant is to provide funding to boost the level of skilled workers in the region.

 “Funds from this grant can be used to fund anywhere from between 50 to 100 percent of total training costs,” he said. “Providing training to industries for a fraction of the total cost or at no cost at all is attractive for many area industries.”