Neal Anderson, James Lanzafane, Chris Lehrman, and Daniel Savastano
Currently the United States receives less than 7% of its power from renewable hydroelectric sources. In an effort to increase this percentage, we investigate the untapped potential of ocean tidal power. Tidal power is an enormous source of renewable energy, having the capacity to server as both an abundant and relatively inexpensive source for electricity generation that could forever alter and improve the way in which the US continues to subsist and develop. The potential energy held by tidal power has been so far ignored as a reliable energy process, and is only now in the earliest stages of being utilized. However, due to current research and development, several processes for effectively harnessing tidal power have given the process enough of a competitive edge both economically and in terms of reliability that real, fully functioning projects are now beginning. Many coastal areas would in one way or another benefit from the implementation of tidal power, as it is both a perpetual and predictable source of clean energy. If enough interest and financial backing for further tidal power research continues to remain strong, then the US may after all find a long term solution to the growing issue of sustainable development.
Steven Baldwin, Trevor Bertin, Nicholas Bova, and Michael Ford
The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of the installation and utilization of photovoltaic systems for on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute campus. The two most suitable buildings for a photovoltaic system are Morgan Hall and Daniels Hall. Each building has enough unused roof space to install a 3.6kW system. A cost benefit analysis was conducted to illustrate when the system would begin to save WPI money on electricity. This analysis was performed based on the cost of electricity for several different economic scenarios. This established how feasible the proposed system will be given a 10 year payback requirement by WPI facilities.
Jason Beliveau, Mike Blaess, John Jenkins, and Ben Mininberg
The long-developing energy crisis is now upon us, and we need cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. Nuclear power is one such possible power source, but it has faltered in the United States. Since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, no new nuclear power-plants have been built in the U.S. We believe the lack of support for nuclear power in the U.S. stems from an overall fear of the technology based on a lack of knowledge about the technology. We realized that nuclear power could not become a widespread power source in the U.S. without educating people about it and combating many common misconceptions people have about it. We designed a knowledge and opinion based survey to quiz WPI students on their nuclear awareness. Using data we gathered from students’ quiz answers, we were able to identify some of the most common misconceptions about the nature and perceived danger of nuclear power. With our data we were able to create an outline for an educational course on nuclear power including all the sources needed to create a robust and informative one- or two-hour course. The proposed course would combat commonly held misconceptions about nuclear power in an effort to increase nuclear awareness and favorably change opinions towards nuclear technology as a feasible power source.
John Brunelli, Brendan Harris, Brendan McLoughlin, and Michael Votruba
Wind Energy Solutions by Michael Votruba, John Brunelli, Brendan Harris, and Brendan McLoughlin students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute for Power the World. In Massachusetts wind turbine development for residential homes is limited. In order to make it easier to install wind turbines a template and model bylaw were created. The template includes basic information on wind resources, testing, land and safety evaluations, and financial costs. The bylaw covers a wide range of areas including design, environmental, and safety regulations, monitoring, maintenance and abandonment.
Michael Collins, Graham Leto, Evan Sawyer, and Peter Schembri
Bio-fuels are in a class of their own. Our research has shown that bio-fuels are not in competition with alternative fuel sources such as, fusion, tidal and hydrogen power, but they can pave the way for them. Bio-fuels could potentially buy us and our environment upwards of one hundred years. They are also the only fuel source which can be implemented today and dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. It is apparent that we may run out of fossil fuels within the next 50 years, and could face a major ecological disaster before then due to climate change. Bio-fuels can step in and alleviate the burden of CO2 output and give us sufficient time to develop such future technologies, as fusion. They are renewable, cost effective and clean source of energy which can ease our dependence on foreign oil. Bio-fuels, in the form of ethanol, can be generated not just from corn, but can utilize any fibrous plant material, such as rapeseed and switchgrass and other cellulostic plants. These new sources of ethanol will cut down on potential competition with food crops. Bio-diesel vehicles require minimal conversions and can replace up to 30% foreign oil imports.
Richard DiCroce, Matthew Wzorek, and Ho Fong Leung
With oil prices at an all-time high, alternative fuels are once again receiving considerable attention. One alternative, ethanol has been fueling Brazil since the 1980s and has recently become a cornerstone of United States energy policy as well. Our goal is to perform a thorough analysis and comparison of each country’s ethanol policy and make policy recommendations for the United States. Our research leads us to the conclusion that ethanol in the United States is not currently feasible on a large scale. However, new cellulosic ethanol technology may give ethanol a future.
Chuck Fung, Doug Gardiner, Chris LaBarre, and James Loiselle
The project resulted in a conclusion on whether hydrogen cars can replace gasoline powered cars. The project investigated the cost, lifespan, and efficiency of fuel cells, the production of the demand of hydrogen for cars, the cost of building a stable infrastructure allowing for convenient refueling, and the current policies, cost, and funding for the technology
Matt Hammond, Rachel Heller, Sean McCauley, and Alex Meyer
We performed a payback period analysis on options to make a house more energy efficient. We examined photovoltaics, appliances, solar hot water, geothermal heat, windows, and insulation to determine which versions of each was the most efficient and cost effective for an average Massachusetts home. We found that the majority of these technologies are feasible. The exceptions to this are Icynene insulation and photovoltaic panels which require additional subsidies in order to become affordable in residential building.
Adam Hirsch, Patrick D. Hunter, Lee Hermsdorf-Krasin, and Alex Powell
In a world so close to an energy crisis, new technologies are needed to sustain our way of life. Nuclear fusion seems as one of the last hopes for energy, as it produces extreme amounts of energy from a little amount of matter that is abundant on Earth. The only problem is that scientists have not been able to construct a fusion reactor that can sustain a nuclear fusion reaction; therefore all fusion reactors today are inefficient. Power The World is a non‐profit competition set on benefitting humanity through new forms of energy (mainly nuclear fusion). The goal in constructing Power the World was to obtain the most cost/energy efficient fusion reactors and have them built around the world in order to produce gratuitous amounts of energy, to cease the world’s dependence on non‐renewable resources. Power the World gained its roots from organizations such as X‐prize and DARPA, and competitions such as the Grand Challenge and the Ansari X‐prize Power the World seek to revolutionize the world's energy plans. Power The World offers participants the incentive of a cash prize, funds for a research institute, and an international contract to build their reactors. Unlike DARPA and the X‐prize foundations, Power the World is an international competition without a limit on countries or the amount of teams participating
Kristopher Kellogg, Arvid Srinivasan, Brian Tanguay, and Andrea Tarbet
Green roofs are new roofing technology that use vegetation to cleanse the environment, and photovoltaics directly produce electricity from absorbed sunlight. This study determined the economic feasibility of installing photovoltaic and green roof technologies on the roof of the new recreation center at WPI and found an economic balance between the two technologies. Due to the cost benefit and pay back period analyses, the green roof system would be the more beneficial technology for the future recreation center at WPI.
Elizabeth Lapinel, Lisa Pugsley, Heidi Robertson, and Kayla Schutte
In the last two decades, an economic boom in China has occurred due to the rapid export-driven industrialization within the country. This growth in coal-powered manufacturing has in turn caused a rise in air-borne pollutants and has negatively affected the environment as well as the health of those within the country and in the surrounding nations. The United States has a responsibility to help reduce the amount of emissions produced in China because of the negative affects these pollutants are causing. Moreover, a large amount of the manufacturing occurring in China has come about as a result of American outsourcing of manufacturing to the country. Thus, the only way to bring about a positive change and curtail the rising amounts of harmful chemicals such as CO2 , SO2, NOx and particulate matter is for the United States to aid China to implement joint measures of pollution prevention and control. Funding and encouragement from the United States to work together with China will result in more successful policy that both countries can comply with, rather than world wide treaties which have been fruitless in the past.
Danielle Payne, Mario Christner, Quontay Turner, and Greg Sapochetti
The goal of this project is to determine where it is economically feasible to have a green roof and where it will become cost effective. We will compare the energy savings in four cities of varying climates to discover where a green roof will become economically feasible and how long it will take to pay for itself compared to a conventional roof. The four cities that we have chosen are Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, and New York City. Los Angeles was chosen for its dry hot climate, Miami for its hot humid climate, Houston is a slight combination of Los Angeles and Miami, and New York for a northern temperate climate. We have also chosen a standard building size of 55’x55’ to be hypothetically placed in each city. After researching the climates in each city, the cost of heating the buildings and the cost of a green roof, we took those numbers and calculated how long the payback period was for each city. We found that the payback period for the cities ranged from 300‐400 years and that in southern warmer climates is best for a green roof.
Anthony Scalzi, Ryan Stock, Zachary Taillefer, and Andrew Tremblay
In the light of increased water usage and depleting natural water supplies, the world is facing an impending water shortage. To combat this, many countries have turned to desalination to derive usable water from the sea. In this report, we have researched the current desalination technologies available in order to provide a comparative analysis of different methods of solar desalination and other methods of conventional desalination for the benefit of those who are undecided or ignorant to all viable options. From our research, we have concluded that although solar desalination is not a viable option at the present, further research in efficiency and longevity of solar panels will make solar assisted desalination the most economically advantageous of methods.
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