Topic: Interdisciplinary Minor In Hydrogen Technology at Michigan Techlogical University
Location: Michigan, USA
The search for alternative energy sources is an area that has received great attention in the last few years, beginning with the January 2003 State of the Union address by President George W. Bush, approving federal funding for hydrogen fuel cell research for passenger vehicles. Similar announcements were made by state governors, most notably Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, stating “not only will we build these cars in Michigan, our Automotive Technology Corridor will help develop the fuel cell technology those cars will run on.”
Inherent within the nation’s initiative should be the development of educational programs related to fuel cells and other aspects of the hydrogen economy, including advantages and disadvantages. This is important since hydrogen has been proposed for use in transportation applications as a replacement fuel for gasoline, with fuel cells replacing the internal combustion engine. As such, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was passed by the 109th Congress1 as Public Law 109–58. This bill contained the Spark M. Matsunaga Hydrogen Act of 2005 (cf Sections 801-816). One aspect of this bill was to fund the development of university education programs. These programs are described in more detail in the Department of Energy Multi-Year Research, Development, and Demonstration Plan.
This paper has described the formation and structure of an interdisciplinary minor in hydrogen technology. The minor requires participation in the Alternative Fuels Group Enterprise and taking courses in fuel cells and hydrogen technology. Student interest in the enterprise project work courses and technical courses has been very positive. It is expected that the first students to receive the minor will graduate in May of 2010.