Matching Items (256)
- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
- Status: Published
Experimental measurements of thermoelectric phenomena in nanoparticle liquid suspensions (nanofluids)
This study analyzes the thermoelectric phenomena of nanoparticle suspensions, which are composed of liquid and solid nanoparticles that show a relatively stable Seebeck coefficient as bulk solids near room temperature. The approach is to explore the thermoelectric character of the nanoparticle suspensions, predict the outcome of the experiment and compare the experimental data with anticipated results. In the experiment, the nanoparticle suspension is contained in a 15cm*2.5cm*2.5cm glass container, the temperature gradient ranges from 20 °C to 60 °C, and room temperature fluctuates from 20 °C to 23°C. The measured nanoparticles include multiwall carbon nanotubes, aluminum dioxide and bismuth telluride. A temperature gradient from 20 °C to 60 °C is imposed along the length of the container, and the resulting voltage (if any) is measured. Both heating and cooling processes are measured. With three different nanoparticle suspensions (carbon nano tubes, Al2O3 nanoparticles and Bi2Te3 nanoparticles), the correlation between temperature gradient and voltage is correspondingly 8%, 38% and 96%. A comparison of results calculated from the bulk Seebeck coefficients with our measured results indicate that the Seebeck coefficient measured for each suspension is much more than anticipated, which indicates that the thermophoresis effect could have enhanced the voltage. Further research with a closed-loop system might be able to affirm the results of this study.
Phase Change Material (PCM) plays an important role as a thermal energy storage device by utilizing its high storage density and latent heat property. One of the potential applications for PCM is in buildings by incorporating them in the envelope for energy conservation. During the summer season, the benefits are a decrease in overall energy consumption by the air conditioning unit and a time shift in peak load during the day. Experimental work was carried out by Arizona Public Service (APS) in collaboration with Phase Change Energy Solutions (PCES) Inc. with a new class of organic-based PCM. This "BioPCM" has non-flammable properties and can be safely used in buildings. The experimental setup showed maximum energy savings of about 30%, a maximum peak load shift of ~ 60 min, and maximum cost savings of about 30%. Simulation was performed to validate the experimental results. EnergyPlus was chosen as it has the capability to simulate phase change material in the building envelope. The building material properties were chosen from the ASHRAE Handbook - Fundamentals and the HVAC system used was a window-mounted heat pump. The weather file used in the simulation was customized for the year 2008 from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) website. All EnergyPlus inputs were ensured to match closely with the experimental parameters. The simulation results yielded comparable trends with the experimental energy consumption values, however time shifts were not observed. Several other parametric studies like varying PCM thermal conductivity, temperature range, location, insulation R-value and combination of different PCMs were analyzed and results are presented. It was found that a PCM with a melting point from 23 to 27 °C led to maximum energy savings and greater peak load time shift duration, and is more suitable than other PCM temperature ranges for light weight building construction in Phoenix.
Given the growing market in solar energy, specifically by the thin-film technologies, it is imperative that adequate and accurate standards be developed for these newer photovoltaic devices. Cadmium Telluride, CdTe, one of the major players in the thin-film PV industry is currently rated and certified using standards that have been developed under the context of older technologies. The behavior of CdTe has been shown to be unique enough to suggesting that standards be revised. In this research, methods built on previous industry and independent studies are used to identify these unique behaviors. As well new methods are developed to further characterize CdTe modules in the context of current standards. Clear transient and meta-stable behavior is identified across modules from four different commercial manufacturers. Conclusions drawn from this study show illumination and temperature hysteresis effects on module ratings. Furthermore, suggestions for further study are given that could be used to define parameters for any reexamination of module standards.
Evaluating different green school building designs for Albania: indoor thermal comfort, energy use analysis with solar systems
Improving the conditions of schools in many parts of the world is gradually acquiring importance. The Green School movement is an integral part of this effort since it aims at improving indoor environmental conditions. This would in turn, enhance student- learning while minimizing adverse environmental impact through energy efficiency of comfort-related HVAC and lighting systems. This research, which is a part of a larger research project, aims at evaluating different school building designs in Albania in terms of energy use and indoor thermal comfort, and identify energy efficient options of existing schools. We start by identifying three different climate zones in Albania; Coastal (Durres), Hill/Pre-mountainous (Tirana), mountainous (Korca). Next, two prototypical school building designs are identified from the existing stock. Numerous scenarios are then identified for analysis which consists of combinations of climate zone, building type, building orientation, building upgrade levels, presence of renewable energy systems (solar photovoltaic and solar water heater). The existing building layouts, initially outlined in CAD software and then imported into a detailed building energy software program (eQuest) to perform annual simulations for all scenarios. The research also predicted indoor thermal comfort conditions of the various scenarios on the premise that windows could be opened to provide natural ventilation cooling when appropriate. This study also estimated the energy generated from solar photovoltaic systems and solar water heater systems when placed on the available roof area to determine the extent to which they are able to meet the required electric loads (plug and lights) and building heating loads respectively.
The results showed that there is adequate indoor comfort without the need for mechanical cooling for the three climate zones, and that only heating is needed during the winter months.
The transition to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs): an analysis of early adopters of natural gas vehicles and implications for refueling infrastructure location methods
Alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) have seen increased attention as a way to reduce reliance on petroleum for transportation, but adoption rates lag behind conventional vehicles. One crucial barrier to their proliferation is the lack of a convenient refueling infrastructure, and there is not a consensus on how to locate initial stations. Some approaches recommend placing stations near where early adopters live. An alternate group of methods places stations along busy travel routes that drivers from across the metropolitan area traverse each day. To assess which theoretical approach is most appropriate, drivers of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in Southern California were surveyed at stations while they refueled. Through GIS analysis, results demonstrate that respondents refueled on the way between their origins and destinations ten times more often than they refueled near their home, when no station satisfied both criteria. Freeway interchanges, which carry high daily passing traffic volumes in metropolitan areas, can be appropriate locations for initial stations based on these results. Stations cannot actually be built directly at these interchange sites, so suitable locations on nearby street networks must be chosen. A network GIS method is developed to assess street network locations' ability to capture all traffic passing through 72 interchanges in greater Los Angeles, using deviation from a driver's shortest path as the metric to assess a candidate site's suitability. There is variation in the ability of these locations to capture passing traffic both within and across interchanges, but only 7% of sites near interchanges can conveniently capture all travel directions passing through the interchange, indicating that an ad hoc station location strategy is unlikely to succeed. Surveys were then conducted at CNG stations near freeway interchanges to assess how drivers perceive and access refueling stations in these environments. Through comparative analysis of drivers' perceptions of stations, consideration of their choice sets, and the observed frequency of the use of a freeway to both access and leave these stations, results indicate that initial AFV stations near freeway interchanges can play an important role in regional AFV infrastructure.
The investigation and characterization of the group 3 [NiFe]-Hydrogenases using protein film electrochemistry
Hydrogenases, the enzymes that reversibly convert protons and electrons to hydrogen, are used in all three domains of life. [NiFe]-hydrogenases are considered best suited for biotechnological applications because of their reversible inactivation with oxygen. Phylogenetically, there are four groups of [NiFe]-hydrogenases. The best characterized group, "uptake" hydrogenases, are membrane-bound and catalyze hydrogen oxidation in vivo. In contrast, the group 3 [NiFe]-hydrogenases are heteromultimeric, bifunctional enzymes that fulfill various cellular roles. In this dissertation, protein film electrochemistry (PFE) is used to characterize the catalytic properties of two group 3 [NiFe]-hydrogenases: HoxEFUYH from Synechocystsis sp. PCC 6803 and SHI from Pyrococcus furiosus. First, HoxEFUYH is shown to be biased towards hydrogen production. Upon exposure to oxygen, HoxEFUYH inactivates to two states, both of which can be reactivated on the timescale of seconds. Second, we show that PfSHI is the first example of an oxygen tolerant [NiFe]-hydrogenase that produces two inactive states upon exposure to oxygen. Both inactive states are analogous to those characterized for HoxEFUYH, but oxygen exposed PfSHI produces a greater fraction that reactivates at high potentials, enabling hydrogen oxidation in the presence of oxygen. Third, it is shown that removing the NAD(P)-reducing subunits from PfSHI leads to a decrease in bias towards hydrogen oxidation and renders the enzyme oxygen sensitive. Both traits are likely due to impaired intramolecular electron transfer. Mechanistic hypotheseses for these functional differences are considered.
This thesis addresses the issue of making an economic case for energy storage in power systems. Bulk energy storage has often been suggested for large scale electric power systems in order to levelize load; store energy when it is inexpensive and discharge energy when it is expensive; potentially defer transmission and generation expansion; and provide for generation reserve margins. As renewable energy resource penetration increases, the uncertainty and variability of wind and solar may be alleviated by bulk energy storage technologies. The quadratic programming function in MATLAB is used to simulate an economic dispatch that includes energy storage. A program is created that utilizes quadratic programming to analyze various cases using a 2010 summer peak load from the Arizona transmission system, part of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC). The MATLAB program is used first to test the Arizona test bed with a low level of energy storage to study how the storage power limit effects several optimization out-puts such as the system wide operating costs. Very high levels of energy storage are then added to see how high level energy storage affects peak shaving, load factor, and other system applications. Finally, various constraint relaxations are made to analyze why the applications tested eventually approach a constant value. This research illustrates the use of energy storage which helps minimize the system wide generator operating cost by "shaving" energy off of the peak demand.
A visual analytics based decision support methodology for evaluating low energy building design alternatives
The ability to design high performance buildings has acquired great importance in recent years due to numerous federal, societal and environmental initiatives. However, this endeavor is much more demanding in terms of designer expertise and time. It requires a whole new level of synergy between automated performance prediction with the human capabilities to perceive, evaluate and ultimately select a suitable solution. While performance prediction can be highly automated through the use of computers, performance evaluation cannot, unless it is with respect to a single criterion. The need to address multi-criteria requirements makes it more valuable for a designer to know the "latitude" or "degrees of freedom" he has in changing certain design variables while achieving preset criteria such as energy performance, life cycle cost, environmental impacts etc. This requirement can be met by a decision support framework based on near-optimal "satisficing" as opposed to purely optimal decision making techniques. Currently, such a comprehensive design framework is lacking, which is the basis for undertaking this research. The primary objective of this research is to facilitate a complementary relationship between designers and computers for Multi-Criterion Decision Making (MCDM) during high performance building design. It is based on the application of Monte Carlo approaches to create a database of solutions using deterministic whole building energy simulations, along with data mining methods to rank variable importance and reduce the multi-dimensionality of the problem. A novel interactive visualization approach is then proposed which uses regression based models to create dynamic interplays of how varying these important variables affect the multiple criteria, while providing a visual range or band of variation of the different design parameters. The MCDM process has been incorporated into an alternative methodology for high performance building design referred to as Visual Analytics based Decision Support Methodology [VADSM]. VADSM is envisioned to be most useful during the conceptual and early design performance modeling stages by providing a set of potential solutions that can be analyzed further for final design selection. The proposed methodology can be used for new building design synthesis as well as evaluation of retrofits and operational deficiencies in existing buildings.
Among the various end-use sectors, the commercial sector is expected to have the second-largest increase in total primary energy consump¬tion from 2009 to 2035 (5.8 quadrillion Btu) with a growth rate of 1.1% per year, it is the fastest growing end-use sectors. In order to make major gains in reducing U.S. building energy use commercial sector buildings must be improved. Energy benchmarking of buildings gives the facility manager or the building owner a quick evaluation of energy use and the potential for energy savings. It is the process of comparing the energy performance of a building to standards and codes, to a set target performance or to a range of energy performance values of similar buildings in order to help assess opportunities for improvement. Commissioning of buildings is the process of ensuring that systems are designed, installed, functionally tested and capable of being operated and maintained according to the owner's operational needs. It is the first stage in the building upgrade process after it has been assessed using benchmarking tools. The staged approach accounts for the interactions among all the energy flows in a building and produces a systematic method for planning upgrades that increase energy savings. This research compares and analyzes selected benchmarking and retrocommissioning tools to validate their accuracy such that they could be used in the initial audit process of a building. The benchmarking study analyzes the Energy Use Intensities (EUIs) and Ratings assigned by Portfolio Manager and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Spreadsheets. The 90.1 Prototype models and Commercial Reference Building model for Large Office building type were used for this comparative analysis. A case-study building from the DOE - funded Energize Phoenix program was also benchmarked for its EUI and rating. The retrocommissioning study was conducted by modeling these prototype models and the case-study building in the Facility Energy Decision System (FEDS) tool to simulate their energy consumption and analyze the retrofits suggested by the tool. The results of the benchmarking study proved that a benchmarking tool could be used as a first step in the audit process, encouraging the building owner to conduct an energy audit and realize the energy savings potential. The retrocommissioning study established the validity of FEDS as an accurate tool to simulate a building for its energy performance using basic inputs and to accurately predict the energy savings achieved by the retrofits recommended on the basis of maximum LCC savings.
The sun provides Earth with a virtually limitless source of energy capable of sustaining all of humanity's needs. Photosynthetic organisms have exploited this energy for eons. However, efficiently converting solar radiation into a readily available and easily transportable form is complex. New materials with optimized physical, electrochemical, and photophysical properties are at the forefront of organic solar energy conversion research. In the work presented herein, porphyrin and organometallic dyes with widely-varied properties were studied for solar energy applications. In one project, porphyrins and porphyrin-fullerene dyads with aniline-like features were polymerized via electrochemical methods into semiconductive thin films. These were shown to have high visible light absorption and stable physical and electrochemical properties. However, experimentation using porphyrin polymer films as both the light absorber and semiconductor in a photoelectrochemical cell showed relatively low efficiency of converting absorbed solar energy into electricity. In separate work, tetra-aryl porphyrin derivatives were examined in conjunction with wide-bandgap semiconductive oxides TiO2 and SnO2. Carboxylic acid-, phosphonic acid-, and silatrane-functionalized porphyrins were obtained or synthesized for attachment to the metal oxide species. Electrochemical, photophysical, photoelectrochemical, and surface stability studies of the porphyrins were performed for comparative purposes. The order of surface linkage stability on TiO2 in alkaline conditions, from most stable to least, was determined to be siloxane > phosphonate > carboxylate. Finally, porphyrin dimers fused via their meso and beta positions were synthesized using a chemical oxidative synthesis with a copper(II) oxidant. The molecules exhibit strong absorption in the visible and near-infrared spectral regions as well as interesting electrochemical properties suggesting possible applications in light harvesting and redox catalysis.