Over the past year, several renewable energy installations have come online on campus. As they have become operational, I have been working with the installers, Gustavus Physical Plant staff, and the Physics department to make these installations live up to their potential as teaching tools as well as energy generators. Here is an update about the projects:
Small wind turbine.
In late January 2012, a small group of hardy should braved chilly wind to dedicate a Skystream 3.7 wind turbine. Located on the north end of campus (by Big Hill Farm and accross the street from the Catholic church, this turbine was funded a part of an NSF grant intended to bring sustainability and renewable energy topics into Gustavus undergraduate science labs.
Two large solar thermal systems became operational in February 2012. One, using flat plate collectors, is on Lund and provides heat for the pool, with any extra thermal energy used to preheat hot water for showers. The other, using evacuated tube collectors, is on Jackson and preheats the hot water for Dining Services. At the end of November, I collected the data from those systems and they have been collecting solar energy at more than 50% efficiency.
At the end of the summer, three different solar electric (aka photovoltaic systems) went online on the roof of Olin Hall The three systems offer a side-by-side comparison of different system technologies.