Living Lab Research

Below you'll find current student research for the Living Laboratory. For more information on how to get involved, visit the participate page.


Shower Drain Heat Exchanger (Paul Kreiner)
This research examines the potential of recovering heat from outgoing shower water at the drain to use it to preheat incoming cold water. This project will design, build, and test a variety of low cost heat exchangers suitable for this purpose.
Kitchen Energy Use Optimization (Chi Nguyen)
The goal of researching the energy efficient kitchen is to reduce carbon emissions in the kitchen to save on the cost of photovoltaics needed to offset those carbon emissions. The inspiration for this project comes from the realization that carbon emissions in the kitchen are substantial and important to consider. This project includes the integration and design of a solar cooker and cob cooler into the kitchen.
Solar Thermal Modeling (Jonas Ketterle)
This experiment models the performance of solar thermal systems hour by hour over the course of a year. A model of the ICS (Integral Collector and Storage), for example, suggests that three times more energy can be harvested with evening showers rather than morning showers. This suggests that the green dorm could justify an ICS system sized to meet the evening demand (25%) in addition to the planned active solar water heating system. Current research questions focus on continuing refinement of the model and expansion of the model to other solar thermal systems.

Biogas/Micro-Combined Heat and-Power System (Gil Masters)
Biogas harvested from the wastewater treatment system could power a micro combined-heat-and-power (CHP) system based on an external combustion Stirling engine system manufactured by Whisper Tech of New Zealand.   Their Whisper Gen CHP unit is the size of a home dishwasher and produces about 1.2 kW of electricity and 8 kW of heat with an overall efficiency of over 90 percent. Research questions include the degree to which biogas must be cleaned to operate the Stirling engine, how well the system performs under varying thermal and electrical load conditions, and how suitable it would be for a home CHP unit.

Facility Integrated Vehicle (Paul Kreiner)
The goal of this research is to investigate the feasibility of a Facility Integrated Alternative Fuel Vehicle, such as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle or plug-in hybrid. Research topics include: the type of alternative fuel vehicle that has the greatest potential for research and student use, the building and laboratory requirements for vehicle research, and potential for students to use the vehicle communally.

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