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TECHNO-ECONOMICS ON THE APPLICATION OF HYDRAULICS IN WIND TURBINE DRIVE-TRAINS & THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTEGRATED RENEWABLE ENERGY SYSTEMS FOR USE IN WATER SECURITY ALONG THE US-MEXICO BORDER
Renewable energy adoption is critical when considering future energy grids and how they impact the environment, economy and society. While fossil fuels have traditionally been employed to generate the electricity used across every facet of the global economy, renewables are becoming increasingly more attractive as a substitute. Fossil fuels have historically outperformed their clean energy counterparts in terms of levelized cost. However, over the last few decades renewables have become extremely cost competitive and are starting to outpace their opposition as advancements in technology continue. As the cost gap between “brown” and “green” energy sources decreases, energy grid mixes will adopt more sustainably responsible generation, positively impacting the planet.
In the following thesis, two studies are presented which demonstrate new innovations for decreasing the cost of offshore wind energy and how renewables and desalination can be integrated along the US-Mexico border. The first study describes an itemized breakdown of how substituting the mechanical transmission with hydraulics can lower the life-time cost of an offshore wind turbine. The second analysis details a complex wind and solar powered clean water production and distribution network to combat ongoing water scarcity along the US-Mexico border. Both concepts push the boundaries of scientific innovation and its application for solving social and economic issues.