Date of Completion
Energy Systems | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Sustainability
The purpose of this project is to design a clean energy-sourced microgrid for UConn’s main campus that would reduce the university’s energy emissions while remaining within the geographic boundaries of viable UConn-owned land. Economic cost was not considered in this analysis; instead, emissions and space constraints were the optimized measures of value and feasibility. Sources of energy that were considered include photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines, hydrokinetic systems, and fuel cells. Energy storage capacity was included in the analysis as well. The overall system was optimized first by ignoring space constraints and for a minimum of 10% reduction from the current greenhouse gas emissions produced as a result of UConn’s energy demands. After this target was met, the system was then optimized to produce the lowest emissions possible while remaining within space constraints. The final microgrid design is powered exclusively by renewables. Despite misconceptions around this idea, renewables generate greenhouse gas emissions of their own throughout their lifetimes, especially, in many cases, in the process of being manufactured (Heath, 2020). Therefore, the results of life-cycle analyses of each energy source component of the microgrid design are included in the calculation of emissions in order to determine a more accurate reduction in environmental impact. After determining the use of hydrokinetic systems and fuel cells to be infeasible due to negligible available water velocity and an excessive amount of emissions per kWh of energy produced, respectively, the final microgrid system consists of 203,327 kW worth of solar panel capacity, 225,000 kW of wind turbine capacity, and 730,968 kWh of energy storage. Accounting for life-cycle emissions, this hypothetical system would produce 79,962 MTCO 2 eq in a year, resulting in a 45% reduction from current campus energy emissions, and would require 979 acres of land. Assuming that 1,043 acres of land at UConn is viable for this system implementation, this design is feasible for implementation at UConn’s main campus. Future recommendations for research include developing a combined heat and power microgrid system using fuel cells or geothermal power, and investigating hydroelectric energy generation using UConn’s wastewater treatment facility plant.
MacDonald, Sophie, "An Assessment of Renewable Energy Technology Implementation in Storrs, Connecticut: Emissions Reduction and Feasibility of a Microgrid System at UConn" (2020). Honors Scholar Theses. 736.