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Identifying Renewable Energy Resources

Sustainable Energy Sources for Rural Ghana

Advisors: Steven S. Taylor, Michael B. Elmes

   Daniel C. LaFrance, Stephen P. Kalach, Michael Brown

This project investigated renewable energy sources for Mr. Kofi Amoafo, a machine shop owner from Ghana, West Africa, who now works in England because high diesel prices in Ghana made his business unprofitable. In addition to a system recommendation, this project created tools to assist in the identification and implementation of compatible renewable energy systems in Ghana. These tools included a questionnaire and flow chart to identify energy options and a database of NGOs in Ghana, to identify possible project sponsors.

Sustainable Energy for El Yunque National Forest

Advisors: John F. Delorey, Robert Kinicki

   Kevin John Arruda, Alexander T. Quinn, Steven Charles Baldwin

Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest faces problems with excessive energy use and high electricity prices, which reduce resources available for important land management projects. This project outlines and investigates alternative energy production and energy conservation techniques as both environmentally responsible and sustainable solutions to these problems. The project team investigated possible solutions by performing site analysis, estimating energy production, evaluating environmental impacts, and performing cost analysis. These investigations culminated in recommendations to the United States Forest Service that solar power, hydropower, and multiple conservation techniques be implemented in El Yunque National Forest to reduce annual electricity expenditures.

Renewable Energy Strategies For Wales

Advisors: Dominic Golding

   Stephen James Reilly, Peter Henri Raspe, Jon Joseba Barruetabena, Christopher James Ryan

Wales has tremendous resources for renewable energy, but development has been hampered by inadequate energy policies. The goal of this project was to assist the Green Valleys Community Interest Company in developing a model renewable energy strategy for Wales to better meet UK climate change goals, promote the growth of a rural energy economy, and improve renewable energy success in the corporate and community sectors. Based on interviews with renewable energy experts in several countries, we identified three models of development: corporate invested energy, community invested energy, and community energy storage and management. We recommend that Wales pursue all three models and we identify various policies necessary to support this approach.

   Rahul Mahtani

Escalating apprehension about the harmful effects of widespread use of conventional fossil fuels in vehicles, has led to vast amounts of effort and capital being directed towards researching and developing sustainable alternative energy sources. One of the most promising and abundant of these sources is hydrogen. – This project analyzes the scope of liquid hydrogen as a replacement for conventional fuels, in comparison to other alternatives as well as gasoline. Recommendations are made on improving methods of hydrogen generation and storage, and a major drawback is observed in the fact that hydrogen requires high amounts of energy for its extraction, but the fuel itself has a low energy density.

   Tyler Dunlap Forbes, Brian M. Foley, Adam S. Young, Hans E. Jensen

In the next few years, the rising cost of electrical energy will force Holy Name Central Catholic Jr./Sr. High School to make some difficult financial decisions that will affect the future of the institution. From August 2004 to August 2005, the school spent $127,000 on electric energy, most of which was used to heat the building via a base-board electric heating system. This constitutes a sizable portion of the school’s annual budget and as the price per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity increases, it will translate into thousands of additional dollars spent on heating the building each year. To avoid this predicament, Holy Name has decided to investigate the on-site generation of electricity via wind power. The installation of a wind turbine on their property would dramatically reduce the annual cost of heating their buildings with electricity. The savings  would enable the school to improve the education offered to its students in several ways, including more academic opportunities and the latest technology. If the school is unable to secure the installation [of] a wind turbine, Holy Name will be forced [to] cut extracurricular and academic programs in order to cover their heating costs. Therefore, it is the objective of this IQP to help facilitate the eventual construction of a wind turbine at Holy Name High School. A feasibility study based upon the economic and social issues surrounding such a project will be presented, as well as documentation of the  additional steps taken by the group regarding conferences, meetings and presentations to help secure a wind turbine for Holy Name.

Tomorrow’s fuel, today — biodiesel at Janssen Ortho LLC

Advisors: Fred J. Looft, Robert Krueger

   Lyndsay Renee DeRocher, Amy Rose Gray, Jeremy D. Karlin, Christopher Hammond Johnson

This project was performed in Gurabo, Puerto Rico at Janssen Ortho LLC (JOLLC), part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. The WPI project team helped JOLLC research and implement a biodiesel test trial using a diesel forklift. This research and testing aided the team in making recommendations for full-scale biodiesel usage at JOLLC. We tested biodiesel in a forklift, interviewed other companies in Puerto Rico that use biodiesel fuel, researched a biodiesel fueling infrastructure, and created a cost analysis. The report makes recommendations to JOLLC concerning how to continue using biodiesel in the future.

   Joseph O. Heng, Ryan P. Dennis, Aristotelis Papadopoulos

The United States is currently struggling to make progress in the renewable energy industry. Policy approaches in Denmark, Germany, and Spain were examined to determine factors that promote the use of renewables. Factors influencing energy policy were compared. From this analysis ten policy approaches for promoting renewable energy in the US were developed and assessed. The most practical of these include major investment in renewable technology and the rapid development of resources when economically feasible.

Wind energy in eastern Massachusetts

Advisors: Stephen W. Pierson, Paul P. Mathisen

   Kenneth Alan Leonard, Joel C. Navaroli, Joshua E. Millard

A wind energy resource assessment of eastern Massachusetts was conducted to identify possible wind farm locations. Wind interpolation software (WindMap) was used to create a wind speed map based on anemometer data gathered from various sources. GIS software (IDRISI) was used to quantify and mask out unrealistic locations based on societal factors including distance from power lines, land use, and population density. Potential locations were identified near Boston along the coast, above Worcester, and along eastern Nantucket.

The future of oil and the energy market

Advisors: Alexander E. Emanuel

   Christopher Monroe Weikel

The goal of this study is to predict the future of the oil market, economic consequences of increasing oil scarcity, and the likely future development of an alternative energy infrastructure based on nuclear power and hydrogen. It was estimated that world oil production capacity will fall short of needed demand by at the very latest after 2020. The increased price of oil will motivate the construction of an alternate energy infrastructure. The likely alternative fuel which will replace oil in the transportation sector will be hydrogen.

Siting Renewable Energy on Brownfields

Advisors: Suzanne LePage, Derren Rosbach

   Khanh T. Tran, Lan Chi Thi Tran, Julia Theresa Lamontagne

This Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) focuses on siting renewable energy on brownfield sites in the Montachusett region in response to the grant given by the Economic Development Administration. Assessment of renewable energy is conducted in terms of site characteristics, including area and available resources. Implementation on brownfield sites is scrutinized with regards to incentives, policies, social impacts, environmental impacts, and cost. The final product provides a tool to assist with and encourage siting renewable energy on brownfields.

  Lauren Hayley Bisacky, Donal James Boyd, Brennan Thomas Ashton, Jessica Clotilde Lopez

This report, commissioned by the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia, presents a socioeconomic impact evaluation of the Tsumkwe Energy Project in Tsumkwe, Namibia. The Tsumkwe Energy Project implemented the largest solar-diesel hybrid system in southern Africa and is a pilot study for developing future rural electrification projects. Outlined are the methodologies and developmental steps necessary to produce an effective rural electrification assessment. We used the results of this assessment to develop a set of recommendations,opportunities, and lessons learnt for the future development of Tsumkwe.