DENSO Foundation: In July of 2012 Western Michigan University received a $50,000 gift to expand the student projects working on the HVAC systems of a new Toyota Plug in Prius. The foundation funding provided for the purchase of a 2012 Prius plug-in (OEM). The vehicle was delivered to WMU in July 2012 and student teams immediately began their project work to evaluate the HVAC system operation and performance, with the goal of engineering system and component modifications to incorporate "grid" heating systems, while the vehicle is plugged in. Heating and preheating the vehicles engine (block, oil, coolant), cabin and batteries, will result in improved performance and increased range (and thus MPG) in electric mode. Groups of electrical and mechanical engineering students (senior design, capstone, project) are involved in the project.
In June of 2011 Western Michigan University was awarded $20,000 to fund HVAC optimization for plug-in hybrid vehicles. As one of the world's largest automotive suppliers with operations in 32 countries and regions, DENSO provides capabilities in research and design, development, manufacturing and delivery of advanced automotive technology systems and components to the automotive industry. The DENSO North American Foundation is pleased to support WMU's effort to build a skilled, knowledgeable and well-trained workforce to serve the industry.
Consumers Energy Foundation: In August 2009, Consumers Energy Foundation/Consumers Energy provided $34,000 in funding in support of the purchase of equipment for faculty/student research projects. These projects included "Environment Chamber for Wind Turbine Material Testing", "1-KW Fuel Cell System", and "Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Onboard Data Acquisition System." Most of the equipment was used in senior engineering design projects culminating in presentations being made at the Senior Engineering Design Conference held on April 20, 2010 at the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences. To date, Consumers Energy and their foundation have made gifts totaling nearly $360,000 to the University community.
DELEG: Through the generous support of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, and Economic Growth, the wind turbine at Western Michigan University was made possible. The wind turbine, a Southwest Windpower Skystream 3.7, has already been used to measure annual wind capacity in the area and will assist students in the development of future research projects. Currently, the wind turbine is producing approximately 1400 kWh's of electricity annually.
Clean Transportation Technology Innovation - Western Michigan University: WMU was recognized for its wind charged Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle program and project, Tuesday Sept. 29, at the Michigan Clean Transportation Expo and Awards Gala (MCT), In Novi Michigan.