ABE students dive deep into the electrical infrastructure of the Iowa State Power Plant

ABE students dive deep into the electrical infrastructure of the Iowa State Power Plant

When it comes to learning about electricity, hands-on experience is crucial. And in TSM 363, hands-on experience is exactly what you’ll get.

Josh Peschel, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University, brings electrical systems to life in TSM 363, a junior/senior level course on the application of electricity and controls in agricultural and industrial environments.

But before learning the ins and outs of the deep-rooted world of electricity, Peschel begins the first week or two of class with a field trip across campus to the State Power Plant of Iowa. Peschel wants to make sure students see just how complex the electric universe is, he says.

“It’s really good to see where the source of all our electricity is coming from,” Peschel said. “As we learn the context of the electrical grid and electrical transmission, being able to go to a unique location like the Iowa State Power Plant allows students to see where the electricity is coming from. when they turn on the switch.”

In class, students discover all the electrical infrastructures of the surrounding communities. From single and three phase power systems to generators, conductors or transformers, they have a taste of it all. Each week the class has a hands-on lab where they manually wire and design electrical systems. The main goal of this class is to show students exactly how much of their world is powered by electricity, says Peschel.

“This class is a bit of a debunker – your whole life you’ve walked through all this electrical infrastructure, but it was behind locked doors and closed cabinets,” Peschel said. “In TSM 363, you open those doors and those cabinets and you see what’s inside. Because what’s inside is really important for everyday life.