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Renewable Energy

This video series introduces homeowners to systems that use natural light, heat, or wind energy to replace or supplement more traditional energy sources that may one day diminish. The series highlights research being conducted in the College of Engineering by the Southwest Technology Development Institute and the Department of Engineering Technology and Surveying Engineering.

This series was made possible by a partnership between the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service and the College of Engineering.

Renewable Energy: Solar Panels

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins discusses advantages and disadvantages of two types of solar panel mounts. Panels on a fixed-rack mount remain stationary throughout the day. Panels equipped with solar trackers follow the sun as it moves across the sky.

Renewable Energy: Solar Panel System Components

Using a demonstration model, NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins describes the different components of a home photovoltaic system that also includes battery storage.

Renewable Energy: Solar Panel Mounts

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins discusses advantages and disadvantages of two types of solar panel mounts. Panels on a fixed-rack mount remain stationary throughout the day. Panels equipped with solar trackers follow the sun as it moves across the sky.

Renewable Energy: Fuel Cell Model

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins demonstrates how solar energy is used to isolate hydrogen gas from water. The hydrogen fuel cell uses electro-chemical reactions to generate electricity and power a motor. Then the hydrogen, no longer isolated, combines with oxygen again to create a byproduct of water.

Renewable Energy: Small Wind Turbine

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins shows off a small 400-Watt wind turbine and its components. This device is useful for any small home or cabin, especially if the location is isolated from a city's electric power supply grid.

Renewable Energy: Wind Turbine Model

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins uses a small model of a wind turbine, to show how wind energy can be converted to mechanical energy and, in turn, to electrical energy. We can also see how wind speed and blade pitch can make the unit more efficient or less efficient in producing electricity.

Renewable Energy: Solar Air Heater

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins shows off a simple solar air heater, which fits into a window space. Natural circulation occurs as the cold room air enters the device and warm air flows back into the room.

Renewable Energy: Stirling Engine Models

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins shows two small Stirling engine models. One capitalizes on the temperature difference between hot liquid and room air and the other uses ice and room air. Differences in air temperature cause the motors to run. On a large scale, Stirling engines power generators, which create electricity.

Renewable Energy: Stand-Alone Solar Array

Using a series of panels consisting of photovoltaic cells, this stand-alone solar array can produce up to 1 kilowatt of electricity a day, which makes it ideal for a small home or cabin. This system uses battery storage and is not connected to a city utility grid so it can be ideal for remote locations.

Renewable Energy: Solar Water Pump

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins uses a mobile, solar-powered water pump demonstration model to explain how this type of system works. In sunny climates, this system is extremely efficient for farmers, ranchers and homeowners. It has been found to be more reliable and cost effective than traditional wind-powered water pumps.

Renewable Energy: Solar Water Heaters

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins talks about two solar hot water heater configurations for home use. The water is heated by the sun and is circulated throughout the day either by a solar powered pump or by natural convection.

Renewable Energy: Solar Water Distillers

NMSU Assoc. Professor Kenny Stevens talks about homemade solar water distillers, which use evaporation and condensation to purify water. These distillers are effective, safe, and cheap. They are ideal for disaster situations, such as floods, where water is plentiful but not safe to drink.

Renewable Energy: Solar Trough

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins explains how a solar trough focuses the sun's heat energy to a pipe filled with fluid, producing steam, which powers a turbine that drives an electric generator. These devices can be connected to a city's main electrical grid and provide power on a very large scale.

Renewable Energy: Solar Thermal Stirling Engine

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins shows how a solar thermal Stirling engine works. It takes a difference in air temperature to run the motor. Here, the engine essentially converts the sun's heat energy into mechanical energy, which in turn can be used to produce electricity.

Renewable Energy: Rack-Mount vs. Roof Mount

Which solar panels are best for your home and what type of mount should be used? NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins shows some options through the research being conducted at NMSU's Southwest Technology Development Institute.

Renewable Energy: Thin Film Solar Panels

Thin film solar panels are lightweight and have a flexible design. NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins explains both the advantages and disadvantages of this type of solar panel.

Renewable Energy: Grid-Tied Components

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins reviews the various components that are associated with a grid-tied photovoltaic (solar panel) system. A grid-tied solar panel system is connected to the city's utility grid. Electricity not used by the household can be sent back to the grid, causing the meter to run backwards and resulting in a lower utility bill.

Renewable Energy: Solar Panels Overview

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins talks about he difference between polycrystalline and concentrating lens photovoltaic panels. He also compares a passive single-axis tracker and with a fixed-rack mount.

Renewable Energy: Single-Axis Tracker

NMSU Professor Thomas Jenkins shows an example of a larger, more sophisticated, solar array system with a single-axis motorized tracker and discusses the potential applications. This system is equipped with a computer that knows the movement of the sun relative to location and time of year. It controls the motor so that the solar panels are adjusted every few minutes to receive the maximum amount of direct sunlight throughout the day.

Thomas Jenkins
Phone: 575-646-3847
Email: tjenkins@nmsu.edu