Renewable energy applications in residential homes and small-scale desalination processes

Phillips, Tyler Thomas
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012]
Starting Page
Ending Page
Alternative Title
The conservation and replenishing of our world's energy and fresh water sources is of pivotal importance for the next generations. The global fossil-fuel reserves are dwindling as are the fresh water aquifers. The need for fresh water, however, may not be as apparent as the energy needs; especially in affluent countries where rising gasoline and electricity prices will be noticed by many, and where piped water supply is standard but bottled water is preferred by most. Even though this fresh water need may be unnoticed in the most developed countries the underground aquifers upon which they rely for bottled water production are depleting and going less restored each year. In reaction to the continual increasing of energy costs, the United States has experienced a surge of renewable energy research and has implemented requirements for the integration of many large-scale renewable energy generation methods all over the country. However, other much more impoverished countries have been utilizing small-scale renewable and sustainable sources of energy, food, and water for generations and the US could learn much from these "undeveloped" nations. There are many rural areas in developing countries where fresh water sources are lacking severely and there is high need for local water production with low energy and costs demands. There is also a potential for a range of classes within the developed countries to achieve sustainability through the use of small-scale renewable methods which can be adapted for any style of living. This work, therefore, is a comprisal of two projects which address the energy and fresh water needs that are facing our world today. The first section of this work focuses on the effective integration of new and old sustainable methods of renewable energy generation into residential homes. This was done through a university wide project to design and build a net-zero home for the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2011 competition. An esthetically creative, highly efficient, netzero home design will be presented which is coupled with the innovative sustainable food and oxygen production system known as aquaponics. This modern home not only provides its occupants will all energy needs through PV and solar thermal panels, but also with fresh produce and fish through the aquaponics system. The use of a thermal storage system with phase change materials is implemented to provide highly efficient home heating and cooling The second section then focuses on the fresh water need, specifically of those rural areas of developing countries where conditions are dry and solar insolation is high. The high potential of these areas for solar energy generation through PV and solar thermal panels make them prime locations for the integration of solar desalination processes for fresh water production. A number of solar humidification dehumidification (HDH) desalination processes are presented and the optimal configurations identified for use in decentralized arid regions. A detailed analysis of the top modeling techniques used for the optimization of these processes is also described.
M.S. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
renewable energy, desalination
Geographic Location
Time Period
Related To
Theses for the degree of Master of Science (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Mechanical Engineering.
Rights Holder
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.