Rose-Hulman selected for Battery Workforce Challenge

Nov. 3—Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has been selected for the Battery Workforce Challenge, an advanced battery design competition by the U.S. Department of Energy, Stellantis' and other government and industry partners.

Enhancing the Rose-Hulman team's efforts will be the development of a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College Terre Haute.

The challenge is a three-year immersive hands-on learning experience, managed by the DOE's Argonne National Laboratory. It will feature 12 North American colleges and universities combined with vocational training and youth education in science, technology, engineering and math.

Rose-Hulman was the only college from Indiana accepted.

DOE has set a target to address the climate crisis that puts the nation on a path to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. One element is design and development of advanced batteries. The challenge seeks to build a skilled domestic workforce with the hands-on experience and knowledge needed for in-demand positions throughout the electric vehicle battery industry.

"The Battery Workforce Challenge provides an opportunity for our students to explore and create new advances in technology that could drive the future of the automotive industry," Rose-Hulman Provost and Vice President Rick Stamper said in a news release.

The partnership with Ivy Tech "will provide significant benefits to students well beyond their classroom and lab experience," added David Will, a Rose-Hulman mechanical engineering alumnus and dean of Ivy Tech's School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering & Applied Sciences.

Industry partnerships will also be forged to assist students from both colleges throughout the next three years.

Other Battery Workforce Challenge participants will be California State University-Los Angeles, Clemson University, Colorado School of Mines, Jackson State University, McMaster University (Canada), Ohio State University, University of Alabama, University of California-Merced, University of Michigan-Dearborn, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and University of Waterloo (Canada).

Rose-Hulman's effort is being led by Marc Herniter, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Zac Chambers, professor of mechanical engineering, and will involve current and future students from a variety of academic degree areas.

Throughout the competition, Rose-Hulman and Ivy Tech students will design, build, test, and integrate an advanced electric vehicle battery pack into a Stellantis vehicle.

The first two years will involve development of a functioning battery pack after following real-world industry milestones focused on battery design, simulation, controls development, testing, and vehicle integration and demonstration. The battery system will then be implemented into the vehicle during the third year of the competition, which will conclude with a performance review organized by a panel of professionals.

"As faculty, we delight in opportunities to incorporate challenges like the Battery Workforce Challenge into our curriculum, as we've successfully done with past ChallengeX, EcoCAR, and EcoCAR2 challenges. We're excited to develop new courses to support the program and cultivate students' skills and interests," said Herniter.

Mechanical engineering alumnus Ryan Schulten, an on-board diagnostics calibration supervisor with Stellantis, said working with faculty on a challenge team "was incredibly useful in building me into a well-rounded engineer, who can plan and complete complex projects thoroughly and on time."

The Battery Workforce Challenge team will use campus workspace and have access to high-performance computers for Computer Assisted Design and model simulations.

"We have the facilities and equipment needed for success in this challenge, and our students can't wait to get started on this next adventure," said Chambers.