Hands-on training: UAHT adds RankineCycler steam turbine engine lab to technical and industrial division


The University of Arkansas at Hope-Texarkana recently added a RankineCycler steam turbine engine lab to the Technical and Industrial Division.

A RankineCycler is a data acquisition equipped, ready to operate power plant. Primary components of the system include an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) certified multi-pass boiler, axial-flow steam turbine, AC/DC generator and condenser tower.

The RankineCycler is based upon the idea that steam can be used for mechanical work and transformed into electrical energy. The boiler allows students to have a visual of flame tubes, fuel nozzles, and igniters. It also demonstrates how various fuel sources can be used and incorporated, which allows this product to be useful in years to come as fuel sources change with governmental regulations.

Students are able to see the effects of pressures, temperatures, and fuel flow rates in real time. In addition, students are able to conduct energy/efficiency related experiments in the classroom.

Jennifer Bailey, Dean of the Technical and Industrial Division, said, “The College takes pride in providing students with technologically advanced equipment in the classroom. The addition of the RankineCycler lab to the T&I department will give our students an advantage competing for jobs, in that they will have real-world, hands-on experience.”

UAHT offers programs in power plant technology and power plant operations. Programs offered at UofA Texarkana include a Certificate of Proficiency in Power Plant Technology, a Technical Certificate in Power Plant Operations and a Technical Certificate in Power Plant Technology. Once a student completes a technical certificate, they may complete an Associate of Applied Science degree in Power Plant Technology at the UofA Hope campus.

These programs allow for the incremental Certificate of Proficiency to Technical Certificate to Associate of Applied Science degree, which permits students to gain credentials along their educational path while reducing the time it takes to earn a degree, allowing students to enter the workforce in less time. All courses required for these degrees are offered in the evenings to accommodate the busy schedule of working students.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the 2015 median pay for power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers was $36.38 per hour.

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