Mechanical Engineering is a discipline that utilizes physics and mathematics to design specific processes, products, and components. Depending on the industry or the project, mechanical engineers can specialize in many areas of knowledge. Currently, there is a need to increase the efficiency of current energy production systems and to research more in depth new, renewable, clean, and environmentally friendly energy sources. This requires that engineers learn how to start replacing fossil fuels that will run out after 2050 (ecotricity, n.d.) without compromising economic growth.
Hydroelectric, solar, and wind are sources of energy that are having great impact worldwide due to their efficient operating costs. Hydroelectric energy is more established than the others because it has been in the market since the 1800s. Wind energy is newer and is still growing every year. Global annual installed wind capacity increased from 7,600 megawatts (MW) in 1997 to 369,553 MW in 2014 (GLOBAL WIND ENERGY COUNCIL, 2015). Although the numbers are still low, humans want to make a transition because of reduced cost: wind energy costs decreased 90% from 1980 to 2004, generating electricity for less than 2 cents (Helming, 2004). In 2018, over 12 states in the U.S. installed over 2,684 turbines to produce 7,588 MW of power at low costs. (Brugger, 2019).
Wind energy Farm, courtesy of www.windpowerengineering
My major, Mechanical Engineering Technology, is always searching for more efficient and eco-friendly energy systems by decreasing production price and using new materials and components. I want to get in depth into this area of expertise because in my opinion, mechanical engineering is the right path to contribute my grain of sand to stop global warming by decreasing the use of fossil fuels. In my home country, Colombia, I learned about the rational use of energy and methods to obtain more power without compromising energy consumption. Here in the U.S., I’m learning how to design mechanical components, simulate their use under difficult working conditions, and conclude if a future application is possible or not. Optimizing the shape, changing the material, and using new manufacturing processes like metallic 3D printing are good options to decrease prices without compromising quality. The magazine ASME of Mechanical Engineers published an article about an offshore wind farm that is planning to be built along the Eastern Coastline of the U.S. Commissioned by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to take advantage of the more than 2,000 gigawatts (GW) of potential energy, this megaproject will create opportunities for those engineers who want to offer their labor in the name of change.
Although I’m still a student and my area of expertise is energy engineering, I feel I’m capable of doing many things for mother nature, such as the clean burning of garbage and the production of commodities from recycled materials. The knowledge is there to create a bright future for humans. Following those who have the will and capability to make changes is indispensable, as this impacts the economy. Renewable energies are a multimillion dollar business, and with the Europeans being at the forefront, the U.S. cannot stay afford to lag behind but must invest in them. This battle for the “throne” – who will achieve better energy efficiency- is helping the search for new sources of energy.
Brugger, K. (2019). Trump again condemns wind energy. His DOE disagrees. E&E News, 1.
ecotricity. (n.d.). Retrieved from currently the needs to increase the efficiency of current systems
GLOBAL WIND ENERGY COUNCIL. (2015, 10` 2). Retrieved from https://www.gwec.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/GWEC_GlobalWindStats2014_FINAL_10.2.2015.pdf
Helming, T. (2004, 2 2). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20071118125045/http://arizonaenergy.org:80/News&Events/Uncle%20Sam’s%20New%20Year’s%20Resolution.htm