UofG logo

Prof. William David Lubitz








    ENGG*1100 Engineering Design I
    ENGG*2030 Traditional Energy Sources
    ENGG*3100 Engineering Design 3
    ENGG*3180 Air Quality
    ENGG*4330 Air Pollution Control
    ENGG*6660 Renewable Energy

Guelph Engineering Journal

The Guelph Engineering Journal publishes reviews, studies and research results from University of Guelph, School of Engineering students and faculty. This peer-reviewed journal is freely availabe online at the GEJ web site: http://www.soe.uoguelph.ca/webfiles/gej/

Undergraduate Projects - 41X

There are many possible capstone projects in the renewable energy field. If you are interested in any of those listed below, or have an energy or sustainability related project idea of your own, contact me.

  • Human Powered Vehicle Technologies. Bicycles are the most energy efficient way to move a person or cargo, using even less energy than walking. The modern bicycle is the product of a century and a half of evolutionary development. However, there are still many ways to improve the bicycle for practical transportation purposes: bicycles are generally poorly lit at night, do not provide much weather protection or secure storage, and are slower and less comfortable than they could be. Projects in this field would be to design a bicycle, or systems that could be added to bicycles (e.g. aerodynamic fairings, trailers, lighting) to make bicycles more practical for transporation.
  • Pico Hydro Turbines. When a suitable water resource is availabe, very small ("pico") hydro systems have the potential to provide reliable cost effective electricity. The design of an appropriate system requires balancing high efficiency with practical concerns like easy of construction and reliability.
  • Stand Alone Solar Applications. As the cost of small solar panels decreases, the opportunities for designing "self powered" standalone devices that can have significant impact in less developed regions is immense. Small amounts of electricity can provide lighting, cooling, communication (e.g. cell phone power), medical services (vaccine refrigeration and power for lab equipment), industry and entertainment. The design challenge is to develop a system that can meet specific technical requirements while also being econonmically and socially feasible.
  • Energy Conservation Systems. There are many "simple" ways to save energy in a house or workplace that turn out to be very difficult to do reliably, such as turning off lights when leaving rooms. Perhaps there is a "technological fix" for these concerns.... One idea: design a system that could be retrofit to an existing light switch, that interfaces with a photosensor and a motorized blinds. The switch is now used to "request more light" instead of "provide power to a light bulb." The "smart switch" might then raise the blinds instead of turning on the light (while factoring in concerns like excess solar heating of the room in summer, direct vs. diffuse light from the window, etc.) Redesign of a fridge to use the outdoor temperature to save electricity, or a clothes dryer to recovery heat from the exhaust air to pre-warm incoming air, are other possibilities.
  • Plant Oil Stove. There is a great amount of interest in biodiesel and other fuels derived from biological materials. However, manfacturing biodiesel from plant oils still requires signficant effort and resources. Instead of changing the fuel, it might make sense to change the machine that uses the fuel. There would be a number of advantages to fueling a small stove with unmodified vegetable oils. The fuel is not expensive, toxic, flamable or explosive. It is available everywhere, can be carried in simple, lightweight containers, and can even be carried on airplanes. The design challenge here is that these very properties also make it difficult to design a reliable, easy-to-light burner.
  • Solar or Hydro Prospector. Design an inexpensive device that could be placed out on a roof in a potential solar panel location, or in a stream at a potential small hydro site. The device would log insolation (the amount of sunlight) falling on the roof or flow, and after a few months or a year, a person could bring the device inside and plug it into any computer. Software provided with the device would then walk the person through a feasibility assessment for solar PV or water heating systems, or microhydro systems, using the stored data to tailor the results to the site.

UofG logo UofG SOE logo

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.