Sustainability Across Diverse Engineering Disciplines (Geothermal Technology, District Cooling Systems, Acid Mine Drainage, and Additive Manufacturing)


Anderson, Austin. (2020-05). Sustainability Across Diverse Engineering Disciplines (Geothermal Technology, District Cooling Systems, Acid Mine Drainage, and Additive Manufacturing). Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Sustainability Across Diverse Engineering Disciplines (Geothermal Technology, District Cooling Systems, Acid Mine Drainage, and Additive Manufacturing)
Anderson, Austin
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Mechanical Engineering
Subject Category:
Mechanical engineering

Sustainability is a broad term that considers environmental aspects in any products/processes design, fabrication, application, and end of life. This thesis is an application of sustainability across multiple disciplines including power generation, district heating and cooling, mining, and additive manufacturing.

Geothermal sources as a sustainable source of energy is often an underutilized resource that has potential to offset fossil fuel sources of energy such as coal and natural gas, while still providing stable baseload power. Various methods of performance improvement, as well as integration of geothermal technology with other renewable energy sources were also discussed. The environmental impact and economic viability of the technology were mapped as well. The advantages and disadvantages of the technology and opportunities for improvement were explored based on the recent studies. Briefly, the potential role of geothermal technology in a sustainable future was discussed.

Applying exergy analysis on the district cooling in the University of Idaho, Moscow campus prioritized the exergy loss. By using TRNSYS modeling and simulation based on a modified thermal energy storage operation condition the new operation schedule for the cooling system in University of Idaho Moscow campus yielded a potential cost savings of $140,000 annually while eliminating 428,800 kg of CO2 emissions and improving the sustainability.

Acid mine drainage and its dangerous effects are one of the greatest challenges currently facing humanity. With sustainability approach to that issue, implementation of active and passive treatment, in conjunction with collaborative relationships between government, academia, investors, and industry were suggested to solve this crisis. Furthermore, governments must continue to enforce policy and regulations that ensure the burden of remediation rests upon those who caused the damages.

Metal additive manufacturing offers a revolutionary way to manufacture parts and components. The different type of the additive manufacturing, financial and environmental benefits, and advantages and disadvantages were studied through literature review. Through Life Cycle Analysis, a method of metal additive manufacturing (Laser Metal Deposition) and a casting manufacturing method were compared for the manufacturing of a stainless-steel pump impeller. It was concluded that additive manufacturing was a sustainable method of manufacturing components in compare with conventional method.

The four chapters combine to describe and analyze sustainability across multiple disciplines. Factors such as policy, society, economy, design limitations, performance, and efficiency have been shown to affect the sustainability of these technologies. This thesis addresses these factors and describes how improvements ranging from small to monumental within these disciplines can affect positive change in the present and future society.

masters, M.S., Mechanical Engineering -- University of Idaho - College of Graduate Studies, 2020-05
Major Professor:
Rezaie, Behnaz
Beyerlein, Steven; Crepeau, John
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