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Integrated Multisource Renewable Energy System Design: A Student Project

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Renewable Energy in Classroom

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.766.1 - 24.766.9



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Paper Authors

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Herbert L. Hess University of Idaho, Moscow


Brian K. Johnson University of Idaho, Moscow Orcid 16x16

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Brian K. Johnson received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992. Currently, he is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Idaho, Moscow. His interests include power electronics, power system protection, and power systems transients. Dr. Johnson is a registered professional engineer in the states of Idaho.

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Rishabh Jain

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Amrit Dahal

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Integrated Multisource Renewable Energy System Design: A Student ProjectThis paper explains the design of a renewable energy system consisting of solar (bothphotovoltaic and passive heat), hydroelectric, biomass, and deep geothermal. This systemprovides energy to a youth camp. It was also designed to provide education to the campers.The camp is at an altitude of 1650 meters in the mountains in a region of active deep geothermaland active volcanoes. Hot water is less than 100 meters below the surface. Solar energy isabundant: The location is in the mountains at an altitude above 1600 meters and near the edge ofa desert, sunny year round. Biomass, not expected to be a significant resource at theinvestigation’s inception, is so abundant that it became the baseline generation in the design.The camp is on the shore of a reservoir with an untapped 40-meter head at the spillway. Sixmonths of placing wind sensors and evaluating data verified the anecdotal notion that the site hadno useful wind.From these resources, the students created an integrated design. Conservation in the form ofleveling demand cut the energy bill nearly in half. The roof of the main building had beendesigned to hold larger than normal snow load, making it able to handle a remarkable number ofPV panels. With the recent dramatic decrease in photovoltaic equipment prices, installed PVwas nearly competitive, not just nice to have. Passive solar architecture in every building hadalready eliminated the need for any air conditioning. To maintain a safe and productive campenvironment, tree trimming is an unending job, yielding enormous amounts of slash for highlyefficient, low emission biomass energy. Geothermal provides heat to a greenhouse operation forcampers to participate in growing their own food. Collection and display of data provides thecampers a real time an educational experience.The paper will explain the design process as the students integrated each renewable resource intoa productive, optimized whole. The design addresses a single multipurpose building as a meansto demonstrate the concept’s effectiveness. The students dealt with funding issues. Localpoliticians wanted to use this project as a demonstrator to encourage the region’s residents toadopt similar systems or subsets. The project led to a public meeting with the mayor and citycouncil, the camp’s directors and staff, and the university community partnerships office.Assessment of the project in this paper is primarily the clients’ assessments and their decision oninstalling it and a plan for evaluating its performance.

Hess, H. L., & Johnson, B. K., & Jain, R., & Dahal, A. (2014, June), Integrated Multisource Renewable Energy System Design: A Student Project Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20658

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