One final fall semester before the $20,000 and 3,000-pound mobile elemental power plant is projected to be complete after three semesters of effort. Over 20 individuals across four disciplines within Weber State University’s College of Applied Science and Technology have contributed to the engineering of the MEPP.
“The idea is to have a power generation station that you can take off the grid and provide power to run communications equipment, radios, medical equipment, just everyday items,” Brian Gray said, who is an electronics engineering technology senior and the project lead.
The device is composed of four rechargeable 12-volt batteries that are designed to be fed with power through solar panels, a 30-foot tall retractable wind turbine and a water turbine. According to Gray, all of these components, which sit atop a trailer bed, were “built, cut, manufactured, machined by students at Weber State.”
The power plant will have the capability to power Gray’s 1,200-square-foot, two bedroom, one and a half bathroom house (6-7 kilowatt hours of power usage per day) for one day. However, Gray noted that if a person is resourceful with consumption and enough natural energy is available, the MEPP would have the capacity to run indefinitely.
Future plans for the MEPP include integrating it into engineering technology courses at WSU in an effort to increase students’ knowledge of renewable energy.
“I think we envision using it and maybe even marketing it out into the private sector,” Gray said. “This would be something very useful to first responders, disaster preparedness people, third world countries even that don’t have an available power grid.”
However, Gray noted that the MEPP cannot presently compete with coal and oil in terms of cost.
“But if it ever got picked up by a commercial manufacturing company, costs could be reduced, and it might be affordable,” he said
Currently, the MEPP is sitting by the Shepherd Union Building on display for NCUR. Gray is scheduled to present the project for NCUR on Friday at noon in the Wattis Business Building, Room 113 .