Minnkota and Jamestown students partner for improvement

University of Jamestown engineers-in-training used a senior project to help enhance Minnkota's plant systems.


Kaylee Cusack


May 25, 2021

A duo of University of Jamestown students gained practical experience in their 2020-21 senior year through a yearlong partnership with Minnkota Power Cooperative.

Kyle Lingscheit and Ruben Zepeda, mechanical engineering students with the Jamestown Senior Design Group, connected with Minnkota’s Milton R. Young Station through senior manager of power production Craig Bleth, who is a member of the university’s Engineering Industry Advisory Board. The search was then on for potential senior projects. The plant engineering department evaluated its project list and identified a suitable assignment for the students to work on alongside the engineering team. Minnkota saw an opportunity to complete a needed project, and at the same time provide some real-world engineering experience for these up-and-coming industry innovators.

The two Jamestown students ran a parallel project with Minnkota to research options for replacing existing wet vacuum systems (a wet dust collector) for the Unit 1 and Unit 2 coal-handling tripper deck. After completing a process to make an equipment selection, they began working on a system model to develop a simulation of performance. Using this simulation, the students ran calculations to improve the system.

This Unit 2 RotoClone wet vacuum system was reviewed in a collaboration between Minnkota and the University of Jamestown. (Minnkota)

Lingscheit and Zepeda drafted a final report for Minnkota containing all of their findings, with an organized spreadsheet of data from their simulations. They also supplied simulation templates for Minnkota’s team to use in the future.

“All this information gives us a baseline for improvements that can be researched and implemented for the system,” said Minnkota plant engineer Joey Mack, who helped coordinate the partnership. “This project gave these students real-world experience in design of a system and providing solutions. The knowledge and steps they learned can be applied to their future careers.”

Minnkota thanks Lingscheit and Zepeda for their efforts and ingenuity during this partnership and wishes them the best in their career endeavors.


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