2004-2005: In collaboration with the vanZelm, Heywood, and Shadford, this student team designed a small-scale power conversion system for the Engineering and Molecular Science Building planned at Smith College. The project is intended to help gain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “Silver” certification. The team designed the system to use cogeneration to create 141 kWe of electricity and approximately 165 kWth (560,000 Btu/hr) of hot water for the building in a way that reduces fuel consumption and harmful emissions.
The team’s system design includes four primary technologies: a biodiesel-fueled microturbine, two fuel cells, a set of photovoltaic panels, and a set of solar thermal panels. The team selected this system based on energy and cost efficiencies, commercial availability, environmental impact, and educational opportunity. To support their design, the team developed preliminary installation and system integration plans, prepared initial materials for curriculum integration, and assisted in finding and approaching appropriate grant funding opportunities. Overall, the cogeneration system could offer significant reduction in CO2 emissions as well as NOx, SOx, and CO, combined with the potential for future financial savings. Smith College pursued funding to incorporate this system into the new building (Ford Hall), but was ultimately unsuccessful in doing so.