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Projects



Projects

Students worked in groups of 4-5 on the following projects. They were given several project options which they selected from based on their interests (PDF).

Below are the descriptions of the student projects, as well as the executive summaries from each of the final reports.



Team CRLS


The Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School (CRLS), Cambridge's only high school, has long had a novel view of education fitting for the city in which it is located. Currently considered one of the top public schools in the Boston area, CRLS is looking to perform roof renovations to keep its facilities as up-to-date as the educational standards. The City of Cambridge has joined Cities for Climate Protection, a project of the ICLEI, and has promised to reduce carbon emissions in the city by 20% below 1990 levels. The City has committed to reducing carbon emissions from city buildings through renovations to meet at least LEED Silver certification.

CRLS is interested in aiding the City's goal by adding renewable energy capacity to its roof following the renovation in 2008-2009. CRLS is currently in discussion with an architect to design the new roof. The school wants the new roof design to be able to support the additional generation capacity when funding for such an installation is approved. The City's commitment to GHG cuts, interest from the student population at CRLS, and Cambridge's large community-wide interest in climate change makes the likelihood of renewable generation being installed on the school building much higher than would be expected for a public school elsewhere in the nation. A well-developed cost-benefit analysis will greatly aid the school as it lobbies for funding.

The MIT student team will undertake a systematic assessment of the size of renewable energy resources on the CLRS site. Solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, roof-mounted wind, and other feasible renewable sources will be compared on a levelized lifetime cost and compared to traditional sources. Modifications to roof design necessary to support the weight of equipment and altered water flow, snow accumulation, and heat transport caused by the presence of generation capacity will be considered. The report will also discuss accounting of externalities such as roof damage, aesthetics, noise, and the community commitment to GHG reductions.

Team CRLS Executive Summary (PDF)

Team Members: Sara Barnowski, Katrina Ellison, Alex Pak, Alex Rubino, Cecilia Scott, and advisor Radu Raduta



Team Wind


The MIT Energy Initiative, launched in May 2006, is a comprehensive Institute-wide commitment to solving energy problems. A key component of the Initiative is "Walking the Talk": stabilizing MIT's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This demonstration of the implementation of energy efficient and new energy generation technologies on campus is a key component to MIT justifying its vision of a new energy future.

The MIT Campus Wind Study is one component of a multifaceted approach to building a lower-carbon energy portfolio for the campus. It is not feasible for any particular technology to achieve the MIT's goals. All viable renewable generation options must be explored and all avenues of improving energy efficiency will be examined. The newly formed MIT Energy Research Council lists a number of projects currently being explored. One of the first results of this work was the installation of around 20 kW of solar photovoltaic panels on buildings around campus. Other work proposed includes a variety of renewable resource assessments, including those in this class, improvements to MIT infrastructure, "green building" design in new construction, and exploration of new fuel and energy supplies.

The windmill used to be the icon of distributed generation, and recently wind power has experienced a resurgence as an electrical power source. However, its use in cities has been limited. Wind turbines gained a reputation, deserved or not, for being noisy, ugly, and inefficient, making newer technologies like solar cells seem much more attractive in urban settings. A number of companies have tried to reinvent the windmill into kinetic art that will slip seamlessly, and silently, into urban areas. One example is Aerovironment. Their new product "Architectural Wind" is designed to mount on the parapet of commercial buildings and harness the wind swept up the side of the building. MIT is exploring the possibility of installing these or other building-based wind technologies. The campus wind assessment will help decide where turbines would be best sited at MIT.

The student team will create a report on the suitability of sites around campus for the installation of wind turbines. This will include an assessment of the overall wind resource at that site, calculation of the levelized busbar cost of electricity over the lifetime of the installation, discussion of externalities like noise, beauty, and permitting at each site, and comparison to other energy resource options available at that location (including solar and fossil generation). Students will have to perform on-site measurements of the wind and make comparisons to climatological data to determine the overall size of the resource. Equipment and expertise from a number of outside agencies, such as Second Wind, will aid in the development of this data set.

Team Wind Executive Summary (PDF)

Team Members: Richard Bates, Samantha Fox, Katie McCusker, Katie Pesce, and adivsor Dan Wesolowski



Nuclear Reactor Team


The MIT Energy Initiative, launched in May 2006, is a comprehensive Institute-wide commitment to solving energy problems. A key component of the Initiative is "Walking the Talk": stabilizing MIT's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This demonstration of the implementation of energy efficient and new energy generation techologies on campus is a key component to MIT justifying its vision of a new energy future.

The MIT Research Reactor is a 5 MW reactor that operates 24/7 for five week periods. It was originally designed in the mid-1950s when the only objective of the laboratory was to provide neutrons for research purposes. None of the 4.5-4.8 MW of low grade thermal energy available is harnessed for use; all of it is released as waste heat. In the 1980s, there were several studies completed that proposed installing a water heat pump to pre-heat water for heating nearby buildings. Identifying economical ways to utilize this waste heat could provide MIT with a means to advance towards the goal of building a lower-carbon energy portfolio for its campus.

The MIT student team will undertake a systematic assessment of the availability and capacity of waste heat from the MIT nuclear reactor. They will identify potential uses for that heat and assess and compare the economic viability of those options. Costs will be calculated and compared to savings incurred by decommissioning of the current cooling tower on site at the MIT reactor and displacement of current heat sources. Heat transportation, construction and contingency costs will be included in the assessment. The report will also discuss accounting of externalities such as aesthetics, contamination and community commitment to GHG reductions.

Nuclear Reactor Team Executive Summary (PDF)

Team Members: Ethan Bates, Zach Bjørnson, Julia Roberts, Josh Velson, and advisor Hidda Thorsteinsson


 








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