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Environmental Engineers’ Passion for Sustainability Research Study

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: This paper demonstrates a no expense barred passion of a geo environmental engineer to pursue fundamental sustainability research studies. At the onset, a prototype “home set up” with wide research potential was installed in their home to analyse the effectiveness of a hybrid system of solar panels and a “vertical axis” wind turbine to generate power for domestic use. Electrical power generation from such systems are solely dependent on the environmental parameters such as wind speed and direction, solar radiation intensity and ambient temperature. Concurrent and continuous Information of these independent environmental variables (and more) were continuously monitored with a HOBO weather station installed on site and within 10m from the hybrid system. Linked relationships between real environmental parameters and the power generated can thus be ascertained. The feasibility of using such hybrid systems for domestic or mini industrial scale power generation were investigated. This home research set up facilitated the research on two further environmental projects; Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect study was one project where the influence of environmental temperature, solar radiation, wind speed, rain fall and relative humidity on cores of road surface asphalt concrete samples coated with paints of different albedo were monitored. Weather induced soil erosion is the other project described in this paper. Soil erosion process is also induced and even enhanced by the moisture absorption character of the soil. The natural elements that affect the soil moisture changes in field include rainfall intensity, relative humidity, sunlight radiation, and ambient temperature. The home research set up collated information in real time and environment frame, contrary to the often reported and practised, controlled laboratory testing conditions. The research outcomes from such studies can be applied to wider scale models and predictive software.

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