Topic 1: Building-Integrated or Urban Wind Power

Summary:

This project relates to my field project this semester on researching building-integrated wind turbines for installation on city-owned buildings in Boston. Ideally, I’d like to use a high-resolution map to figure out where the best places in Boston to put BI wind turbines are. However, I’ve come across a lot of literature in my research that says urban wind projects aren’t a good idea because of issues like lack of horizontal airflow (due to the “noise” created by lots of buildings of many different heights). Therefore, I’d also like to explore whether or not cities have the geographical conditions necessary to use BI wind effectively.

Questions:

  1. Where are the best locations to install building-integrated wind turbines in Boston?
  2. Is Boston a suitable place to install BI wind turbines?
  3. How is the urban wind strength and density in Boston comparable to that in other cities?
  4. Are city-owned buildings located in areas that have high wind strength and density?

 

References:

  1. Modeling urban systems for Atmospheric Environmental Simulation - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7RKT-4TX6FMS-2B&_user=201547&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000014058&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=201547&md5=03f149d5656dc439c8dd4758c624abdf
  2. GIS analysis of wind power in Texas - http://www.windenergy.org/maps/gis/
  3. AWS OpenWind, an open source GIS-based program that sites wind turbines with user-inputted variables in locations of the user’s specification - http://www.awsopenwind.org/
  4. Paper on integrating wind technologies into a new development in the UK - http://www.cse.org.uk/pdf/pub1027.pdf

 

Data Sources:

NREL (has wind maps available on CD, which is being shipped to me currently. I am unsure of the resolution of these maps) http://www.nrel.gov/gis/wind.html#high . MassGIS has data on the locations of city-owned parcels in Boston  http://www.mass.gov/mgis/laylist.htm .

 

 

Topic 2: Where is the best place to grow Algae for biofuel?

Summary:

Due to my foundations literature review last semester, I’ve become very interested in harvesting algae for use as a biofuel. I’ve already researched the technology behind the fuel itself, so what I’m most interested in is its relation to infrastructure. I envision a GIS project like this to be similar to one shown in the San Diego and Minnesota examples (Reference 1) for wind. I would compile layers involving transportation, refineries, transmission lines, solar input, and nutrient (including nitrogen and CO 2 ) input nationwide (or perhaps limit myself to one state or region) and develop an idea of where the best places for building algae farms are. Additionally, I would be interested in seeing whether the amount of algae produced from the areas I derive would be able to supply the nation’s energy needs.

 

Questions:

  1. What are the best areas in terms of available infrastructure (transportation, refineries, transmission lines)?
  2. What are the best areas for solar input?
  3. Can these areas be located close to local nutrient input (such as waste streams and CO 2 outputs)?
  4. How much can be grown on land available?

 

References:

  1. Case studies on locating wind farms in San Diego and Minnesota using GIS- http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fgisdata.nrri.umn.edu%2FGISLIS%2F2006presentations%2FGIS%2520Applications%2520for%2520Wind%2520Generation%2520Final%2520StCloud.ppt&ei=57iASdOkFt-BtwfY5qzwCw&usg=AFQjCNHxN8pR8vcaf2SQa80BYj7JQsRn7g&sig2=jB7vVW3a7hKedZJBitFYWA
  2. Project Vulcan establishes where CO 2 ­ outputs are in GIS - http://www.purdue.edu/eas/carbon/vulcan/index.php
  3. Article generally stating the best areas for the large scale growing of algae - http://www.sanduskyregister.com/articles/2008/06/08/front/786092.txt
  4. Article on the feasibility of algae as a fuel, as well as more specifications for ideal locations for growing it - http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html

 

Data Sources:

Solar input data across the US - http://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html . NREL also has (undocumented) data on transmission lines - http://www.nrel.gov/gis/data_analysis.html .