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In the U.S., high-speed passenger rail has recently become an active political topic, with multiple corridors currently being considered through federal and state level initiatives. One frequently cited benefit of high-speed rail proposals is that they offer a transition to a more sustainable transportation system with reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fossil energy consumption. This study investigates the feasibility of high-speed rail development as a long-term greenhouse gas emission mitigation strategy while considering major uncertainties in the technological and operational characteristics of intercity travel. First, I develop a general model for evaluating the emissions impact of intercity travel modes. This model incorporates aspects of life-cycle assessment and technological forecasting. The model is then used to compare future scenarios of energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the development of high-speed rail and other intercity travel technologies. Three specific rail corridors are evaluated and policy guidelines are developed regarding the emissions impacts of these investments. The results suggest prioritizing high-speed rail investments on short, dense corridors with fewer stops. Likewise, less emphasis should be placed on larger investments that require long construction times due to risks associated with payback of embedded emissions as competing technology improves.
Redundant Binary (RBR) number representations have been extensively used in the past for high-throughput Digital Signal Processing (DSP) systems. Data-path components based on this number system have smaller critical path delay but larger area compared to conventional two's complement systems. This work explores the use of RBR number representation for implementing high-throughput DSP systems that are also energy-efficient. Data-path components such as adders and multipliers are evaluated with respect to critical path delay, energy and Energy-Delay Product (EDP). A new design for a RBR adder with very good EDP performance has been proposed. The corresponding RBR parallel adder has a much lower critical path delay and EDP compared to two's complement carry select and carry look-ahead adder implementations. Next, several RBR multiplier architectures are investigated and their performance compared to two's complement systems. These include two new multiplier architectures: a purely RBR multiplier where both the operands are in RBR form, and a hybrid multiplier where the multiplicand is in RBR form and the other operand is represented in conventional two's complement form. Both the RBR and hybrid designs are demonstrated to have better EDP performance compared to conventional two's complement multipliers. The hybrid multiplier is also shown to have a superior EDP performance compared to the RBR multiplier, with much lower implementation area. Analysis on the effect of bit-precision is also performed, and it is shown that the performance gain of RBR systems improves for higher bit precision. Next, in order to demonstrate the efficacy of the RBR representation at the system-level, the performance of RBR and hybrid implementations of some common DSP kernels such as Discrete Cosine Transform, edge detection using Sobel operator, complex multiplication, Lifting-based Discrete Wavelet Transform (9, 7) filter, and FIR filter, is compared with two's complement systems. It is shown that for relatively large computation modules, the RBR to two's complement conversion overhead gets amortized. In case of systems with high complexity, for iso-throughput, both the hybrid and RBR implementations are demonstrated to be superior with lower average energy consumption. For low complexity systems, the conversion overhead is significant, and overpowers the EDP performance gain obtained from the RBR computation operation.
Lipids and free fatty acids (FFA) from cyanobacterium Synechocystis can be used for biofuel (e.g. biodiesel or renewable diesel) production. In order to utilize and scale up this technique, downstream processes including culturing and harvest, cell disruption, and extraction were studied. Several solvents/solvent systems were screened for lipid extraction from Synechocystis. Chloroform + methanol-based Folch and Bligh & Dyer methods were proved to be "gold standard" for small-scale analysis due to their highest lipid recoveries that were confirmed by their penetration of the cell membranes, higher polarity, and stronger interaction with hydrogen bonds. Less toxic solvents, such as methanol and MTBE, or direct transesterification of biomass (without pre-extraction step) gave only slightly lower lipid-extraction yields and can be considered for large-scale application. Sustained exposure to high and low temperature extremes severely lowered the biomass and lipid productivity. Temperature stress also triggered changes of lipid quality such as the degree of unsaturation; thus, it affected the productivities and quality of Synechocystis-derived biofuel. Pulsed electric field (PEF) was evaluated for cell disruption prior to lipid extraction. A treatment intensity > 35 kWh/m3 caused significant damage to the plasma membrane, cell wall, and thylakoid membrane, and it even led to complete disruption of some cells into fragments. Treatment by PEF enhanced the potential for the low-toxicity solvent isopropanol to access lipid molecules during subsequent solvent extraction, leading to lower usage of isopropanol for the same extraction efficiency. Other cell-disruption methods also were tested. Distinct disruption effects to the cell envelope, plasma membrane, and thylakoid membranes were observed that were related to extraction efficiency. Microwave and ultrasound had significant enhancement of lipid extraction. Autoclaving, ultrasound, and French press caused significant release of lipid into the medium, which may increase solvent usage and make medium recycling difficult. Production of excreted FFA by mutant Synechocystis has the potential of reducing the complexity of downstream processing. Major problems, such as FFA precipitation and biodegradation by scavengers, account for FFA loss in operation. Even a low concentration of FFA scavengers could consume FFA at a high rate that outpaced FFA production rate. Potential strategies to overcome FFA loss include high pH, adsorptive resin, and sterilization techniques.
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.
Photovoltaic (PV) modules are typically rated at three test conditions: STC (standard test conditions), NOCT (nominal operating cell temperature) and Low E (low irradiance). The current thesis deals with the power rating of PV modules at twenty-three test conditions as per the recent International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard of IEC 61853 – 1. In the current research, an automation software tool developed by a previous researcher of ASU – PRL (ASU Photovoltaic Reliability Laboratory) is validated at various stages. Also in the current research, the power rating of PV modules for four different manufacturers is carried out according to IEC 61853 – 1 standard using a new outdoor test method. The new outdoor method described in this thesis is very different from the one reported by a previous researcher of ASU – PRL. The new method was designed to reduce the labor hours in collecting the current-voltage ( I – V) curves at various temperatures and irradiance levels. The power matrices for all the four manufacturers were generated using the I – V data generated at different temperatures and irradiance levels and the translation procedures described in IEC 60891 standard. All the measurements were carried out on both clear and cloudy days using an automated 2 – axis tracker located at ASU – PRL, Mesa, Arizona. The modules were left on the 2 – axis tracker for 12 continuous days and the data was continuously and automatically collected for every two minutes from 6 am to 6 pm. In order to obtain the I – V data at wide range of temperatures and irradiance levels, four identical (or nearly identical) modules were simultaneously installed on the 2 – axis tracker with and without thermal insulators on the back of the modules and with and without mesh screens on the front of the modules. Several issues related to the automation software were uncovered and the required improvement in the software has been suggested. The power matrices for four manufacturers have been successfully generated using the new outdoor test method developed in this work. The data generated in this work has been extensively analyzed for accuracy and for performance efficiency comparison at various temperatures and irradiance levels.
ABSTRACT Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a non-governmental organization of U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which promotes a sustainable built environment with its rating systems. One of the building segments which it considers is healthcare, where it is a challenge to identify the most cost-effective variety of complex equipments, to meet the demand for 24/7 health care and diagnosis, and implement various energy efficient strategies in inpatient hospitals. According to their “End Use Monitoring” study, Hospital Energy Alliances (HEA), an initiative of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), reducing plug load reduces hospital energy consumption. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the extent to which realistic changes to the building envelope, together with HVAC and operation schedules would allow LEED credits to be earned in the DOE–hospital prototype. The scope of this research is to specifically investigate the inpatient block where patient stays longer. However, to obtain LEED credits the percentage cost saving should be considered along with the end use monitoring. Several steps have been taken to identify the optimal set of the end use results by adopting the Whole Building Energy Simulation option of the LEED Energy & Atmosphere (EA) pre– requisite 2: Minimum Energy Performance. The initial step includes evaluating certain LEED criteria consistent with ASHRAE Standard 90.1–2007 with the constraint that hospital prototype is to be upgraded from Standard 2004 to Standard 2007. The simulation method stipulates energy conservation measures as well as utility costing to enhance the LEED credits. A series of simulations with different values of Light Power Density, Sizing Factors, Chiller Coefficient of Performance, Boiler Efficiency, Plug Loads and utility cost were run for a variety of end uses with the extreme climatic condition of Phoenix. These assessments are then compared and used as a framework for a proposed interactive design decision approach. As a result, a total of 19.4% energy savings and 20% utility cost savings were achieved by the building simulation tool, which refer to 5 and 7 LEED credits respectively. The study develops a proper framework for future evaluations intended to achieve more LEED points.
Plasmon resonance in nanoscale metallic structures has shown its ability to concentrate electromagnetic energy into sub-wavelength volumes. Metal nanostructures exhibit a high extinction coefficient in the visible and near infrared spectrum due to their large absorption and scattering cross sections corresponding to their surface plasmon resonance. Hence, they can serve as an attractive candidate for solar energy conversion. Recent papers have showed that dielectric core/metallic shell nanoparticles yielded a plasmon resonance wavelength tunable from visible to infrared by changing the ratio of core radius to the total radius. Therefore it is interesting to develop a dispersion of core-shell multifunctional nanoparticles capable of dynamically changing their volume ratio and thus their spectral radiative properties. Nanoparticle suspensions (nanofluids) are known to offer a variety of benefits for thermal transport and energy conversion. Nanofluids have been proven to increase the efficiency of the photo-thermal energy conversion process in direct solar absorption collectors (DAC). Combining these two cutting-edge technologies enables the use of core-shell nanoparticles to control the spectral and radiative properties of plasmonic nanofluids in order to efficiently harvest and convert solar energy. Plasmonic nanofluids that have strong energy concentrating capacity and spectral selectivity can be used in many high-temperature energy systems where radiative heat transport is essential. In this thesis，the surface plasmon resonance effect and the wavelength tuning ranges for different metallic shell nanoparticles are investigated, the solar-weighted efficiencies of corresponding core-shell nanoparticle suspensions are explored, and a quantitative study of core-shell nanoparticle suspensions in a DAC system is provided. Using core-shell nanoparticle dispersions, it is possible to create efficient spectral solar absorption fluids and design materials for applications which require variable spectral absorption or scattering.
The ability to shift the photovoltaic (PV) power curve and make the energy accessible during peak hours can be accomplished through pairing solar PV with energy storage technologies. A prototype hybrid air conditioning system (HACS), built under supervision of project head Patrick Phelan, consists of PV modules running a DC compressor that operates a conventional HVAC system paired with a second evaporator submerged within a thermal storage tank. The thermal storage is a 0.284m3 or 75 gallon freezer filled with Cryogel balls, submerged in a weak glycol solution. It is paired with its own separate air handler, circulating the glycol solution. The refrigerant flow is controlled by solenoid valves that are electrically connected to a high and low temperature thermostat. During daylight hours, the PV modules run the DC compressor. The refrigerant flow is directed to the conventional HVAC air handler when cooling is needed. Once the desired room temperature is met, refrigerant flow is diverted to the thermal storage, storing excess PV power. During peak energy demand hours, the system uses only small amounts of grid power to pump the glycol solution through the air handler (note the compressor is off), allowing for money and energy savings. The conventional HVAC unit can be scaled down, since during times of large cooling demands the glycol air handler can be operated in parallel with the conventional HVAC unit. Four major test scenarios were drawn up in order to fully comprehend the performance characteristics of the HACS. Upon initial running of the system, ice was produced and the thermal storage was charged. A simple test run consisting of discharging the thermal storage, initially ~¼ frozen, was performed. The glycol air handler ran for 6 hours and the initial cooling power was 4.5 kW. This initial test was significant, since greater than 3.5 kW of cooling power was produced for 3 hours, thus demonstrating the concept of energy storage and recovery.
A relatively simple subset of nanotechnology - nanofluids - can be obtained by adding nanoparticles to conventional base fluids. The promise of these fluids stems from the fact that relatively low particle loadings (typically <1% volume fractions) can significantly change the properties of the base fluid. This research explores how low volume fraction nanofluids, composed of common base-fluids, interact with light energy. Comparative experimentation and modeling reveals that absorbing light volumetrically (i.e. in the depth of the fluid) is fundamentally different from surface-based absorption. Depending on the particle material, size, shape, and volume fraction, a fluid can be changed from being mostly transparent to sunlight (in the case of water, alcohols, oils, and glycols) to being a very efficient volumetric absorber of sunlight. This research also visualizes, under high levels of irradiation, how nanofluids undergo interesting, localized phase change phenomena. For this, images were taken of bubble formation and boiling in aqueous nanofluids heated by a hot wire and by a laser. Infrared thermography was also used to quantify this phenomenon. Overall, though, this research reveals the possibility for novel solar collectors in which the working fluid directly absorbs light energy and undergoes phase change in a single step. Modeling results indicate that these improvements can increase a solar thermal receiver's efficiency by up to 10%.
Dynamic loading is the term used for one way of optimally loading a transformer. Dynamic loading means the utility takes into account the thermal time constant of the transformer along with the cooling mode transitions, loading profile and ambient temperature when determining the time-varying loading capability of a transformer. Knowing the maximum dynamic loading rating can increase utilization of the transformer while not reducing life-expectancy, delaying the replacement of the transformer. This document presents the progress on the transformer dynamic loading project sponsored by Salt River Project (SRP). A software application which performs dynamic loading for substation distribution transformers with appropriate transformer thermal models is developed in this project. Two kinds of thermal hottest-spot temperature (HST) and top-oil temperature (TOT) models that will be used in the application--the ASU HST/TOT models and the ANSI models--are presented. Brief validations of the ASU models are presented, showing that the ASU models are accurate in simulating the thermal processes of the transformers. For this production grade application, both the ANSI and the ASU models are built and tested to select the most appropriate models to be used in the dynamic loading calculations. An existing application to build and select the TOT model was used as a starting point for the enhancements developed in this work. These enhancements include: Adding the ability to develop HST models to the existing application, Adding metrics to evaluate the models accuracy and selecting which model will be used in dynamic loading calculation Adding the capability to perform dynamic loading calculations, Production of a maximum dynamic load profile that the transformer can tolerate without acceleration of the insulation aging, Provide suitable output (plots and text) for the results of the dynamic loading calculation. Other challenges discussed include: modification to the input data format, data-quality control, cooling mode estimation. Efforts to overcome these challenges are discussed in this work.