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Engineering (Berks)

Recommended research sources and tools for engineering students at Penn State Berks.

Background research for renewable energy EV charging stations

Database Trials

In your group, search your assigned database to locate the specified source. Be prepared to demonstrate your research techniques to the class!

Suggested search:

"electric vehicle" AND "charging station" AND renewable

Generative AI

Prompt one or more of the generative AI platforms provided to generate engineering design information on renewable energy EV charging stations. Consider asking about applicable standards and patents.

Generative design is "a collaborative process between humans and computers [in which] the designer defines the design parameters and the computer

  • produces design studies (alternatives),
  • evaluates them against quantifiable goals set by the designer,
  • improves the studies by using results from previous ones and feedback from the designer, and
  • ranks the results based on how well they achieve the designer's goals" (Autodesk AEC Generative Design Team, 2021)

Steps for a good generative design process:

  1. Define the problem
    1. What do you want to design?
    2. What are the design parameters?
    3. What is the reasonable range for these parameters?
    4. What conditions must the design specify?
    5. What must be present in a final design?
    6. What makes the design a success or failure?
    7. What aspects would you like to minimize or maximize?
  2. Sketch it out
    1. Generate
      1. Write down your design steps
      2. Specify constraints
      3. Define the driving parameters for geometry
      4. Identify dependencies or relationships between elements in the design
    2. Evaluate
      1. Identify design elements you'll need to measure or analyze
      2. Determine the means by which you can measure or quantify
    3. Explore and evolve
      1. Identify the key results
      2. Identify the kind of decision you're trying to make (single outcome / design solution, approach, or something else?)
      3. Consider what influences that decision
  3. Define inputs and outputs
  4. Determine evaluation criteria
  5. Decide how to use the results

(Autodesk AEC Generative Design Team, 2021)

Generative Design Risk Areas (Ferraro, 2023)

  • Intellectual Property Risks: ownership disputes, patent and and copyright violations, patent eligibility
    • “[i]nformation provided to me [ChatGPT] during an interaction should be  considered public, not private”
  • Contract Risks: non-disclosure agreements, confidentiality, and proprietary information
  • Government Contract Risks

PROMPT Design Framework comprising Persona, Requirements, Organization, Medium, Purpose, and Tone.

Reflection Questions

Which database do you think was the most useful for background research on renewable energy charging stations for electric vehicles? Why?

Is there an advantage to searching multiple databases about your topic? Why or why not?

Compare the information provided by databases to the information you can find via Web search (ex. Google). What are the benefits of using databases? What are the benefits of using Web search? How can you use both tools in your search strategy?

Additional Resources

Databases used in these activities

Self-guided tutorials

These activities demonstrate how to gather background information for designing solar EV charging stations from engineering research databases.

Send Sarah feedback about these activities to improve them for future students!

Research Coach

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Sarah Hartman-Caverly
Penn State Berks, Thun 107
Social: Twitter Page
Subjects: Campus: Berks