Renewable Energy & the Hybrid Engine

May 12, 2010

News about renewable energy is everywhere. I’ve talked about it before in posts like Teaching Hybrid Technology. But the amount of focus and fervor devoted to this has grown. There were over 17500 articles referring to renewable energy in the last 24 hours alone (according to Google News). This is due to new technology, upcoming legislation as well as man-made disasters. The public’s consciousness of renewable energy is on the rise. And one of the ways people are expressing this is by buying and driving hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid engines combine electric and combustion to power the car, rather than just combustion. This means they are more environmentally friendly. Because at low speeds the electric engine is powering the car, they save on the consumption of fossil fuels. This has the benefit in term of carbon emissions. When the gas is not being used, the fumes are not being released into the environment. Their reliability and low emissions rate (not to mention higher gas mileage) mean that they are more popular than ever.

These hybrid vehicles are being used, and so they will need to be maintained. Hybrid engines have some different features than typical gas engines, as discussed above. Want to see what they look like? Check out our Hybrid Cut-Away Engine. This engine has been specifically cut to provide automotive technology instructors and students with the best view of the workings. (It is color coded to show the flow of liquids.) Here are a few sneak peaks (with more available on nadascientific.com):


Teaching Hybrid Technology

October 29, 2009

In this year’s Consumer Report annual reliability survey, five of the top eight family vehicles were hybrids. At the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show earlier this moth, the new Toyota Prius was voted Japan’s Car of the Year. The Honda Insight was awarded Car of the Year by the Committee of Japan Automotive Hall of Fame.

All signs point to the fact that not only are hybrids popular among environmentalists, they are popular among the general public as well as automotive insiders. This means that the market segment of hybrid owners will continue to grow.

And those cars will need to be maintained.

At this point, auto tech programs that teach or specialize in hybrid technology are rare. There are thousands of programs that still have yet to develop a curriculum for teaching hybrids. Part of the reason for that lag has been the lack of available teaching tools.

NADA Scientific is here to help. We recently introduced two new hybrid automotive technology teaching aids.

The Hybrid System Model is a solid model of a parallel hybrid system that is used in the Toyota Prius. It has a built-in operating panel to help students learn about hybrid engines.

The Hybrid Cut-Away Engine is an engine mounted on a metal frame that includes cut-aways of the engine and transmission sections, as well as an operation panel, all powered by two sets of 120V electric motors.


Using Multi-Media in Automotive Education

September 25, 2009

Automotive tech programs are often very firmly rooted in the shops. While this is a known and productive method, some auto tech teachers are instructing their students using new technology in the classroom.

As profiled by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) in January, Denis Ashton of the East Valley Institute of Technology is doing just that. He has implemented an interactive Power Point curriculum for his program. In this program, after each lesson a quiz is given using electronic keypads, allowing the instructor to know how much information has been retained by the student. By making the quizzes for groups, he also is able to engage the students by making it a competition.

For automotive instructors who are worried about the content of Power Point, simple ones can be made on any computer, and even self-made videos can be created using software such as Adobe Premier or Windows Movie Maker.

But for those who prefer to use an overhead projector either in conjunction with or instead of Power Point, Nada Scientific offers a line of intricate transparencies as well as tabletop models. They include moving parts and up-to-date details. The bright colors and functional motion are a wonderful teaching aid.


Incorporating Clean Fuels in Automotive Energy

August 26, 2009

For several years the debate over global warming has been occurring. A large portion of this give-and-take revolves around the pollution caused by gas powered vehicles. While the reality of global warming is still being discussed in both the public and private sphere, technology is speeding ahead to help limit it effects.

A brief synopsis of some of these efforts are presented in the article Teaching Students about Clean Fuels and Transportation Technologies, (Technology Teacher, April 2009). The authors discuss issues and technologies which are being implemented across the world, and so should be taught to students. Among the ideas presented are:

Fuel Efficient Vehicles: Also known as FEVs, which are traditionally powered vehicles which limit the emissions produced
Alternative Fuels and Vehicles: This refers to non-petroleum based fuels and the vehicles that run on them
Flexible-Fuel Vehicles: These use both traditional and alternative fuels
Biomass: Plant and animal matter that is used to make energy
Ethanol: A renewable grain fuel made from the fermentation of plant materials
Biodiesel: Fuel derived from soy, canola and other plants
Hydrogen: The cleanest of fuels
Hydrogen Fuel Cells: An electrochemical energy conversion device that will continue to produce electricity as long as it has a constant flow of chemicals.
Battery Powered Vehicles: Vehicles which rely on rechargeable batteries.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Use a combination of an internal-combustion engine and an electric motor.
Solar Vehicles: Photovoltaic cells are used to convert sunlight into electricity.

While that list is long, informing students and peers about these basics is essential, as automotive technology keeps on rolling forward. Luckily, Nada Scientific is here to provide the necessary tools for up-to-date science and automotive education. On our site you will find fun and informative products to teach you and your students more about these new technologies.