Sustainable Energy Dissertation

Compulsary For MSc YES
General
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Energy systems or services that serve the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their energy needs are more critical than at any other point in time. This sustainability target is usually met via two key components: renewable energy and/or energy efficiency. This research module, building on the project proposal developed in the first year under the SE 6314 – Sustainable Energy Solutions, requires an investigation and/or practical implementation of sustainable energy project under the supervision of an academic staff member. The research project has to be carried out fully in the second year of study, preferably with an accompanying industrial attachment, under either of the two optional tracks of thesis or capstone.  

Outcomes

  1. Carry out independent research and analysis in addressing or solving real-world sustainable energy problems
  2. Work with small teams, communities, companies, NGO’s or any other relevant entity in assimilating information and synthesizing innovative energy solutions, services, devices or products
  3. Articulate and disseminate research findings in various forums, including community gatherings, academic seminars, workshops or conferences
  4. Produce at least one technical report or paper for peer-review publication with policy recommendations

Tentative Topics

Evaluate / assess the technical and financial viability of a hybrid mini-grid system using RETScreen Expert software simulations and optimizations for the specified rural village, identifying additional energy savings or production opportunities.
Development of a national energy balance interactive tool/system that can be populated with data to generate aggregated / disaggregated energy statistics (energy commodity accounts and energy balance) for bridging the gap in the energy information system, to support energy sector planning and analysis of national energy strategy.
Rural access to renewable energy and sustainable development in Lesotho 12. Information dissemination on climate change towards sustainable development in Lesotho
Is Renewable energy a suitable option for sustainability in Lesotho?/ is renewable energy a suitable national strategy for sustainability in Lesotho?
Supervisor: Dr Al-Mas Sendegeya; Project Brief: The high content of organic material in waste makes biogas technologies a potential solution for waste treatment in a food processing plant in urban area taking the city of Maseru as the case study. The concept is to consider viable technologies that can generate a renewable energy source and organic fertilizer that can provide several benefits. The objective of the proposed research is for the student to investigate the techno-economic feasibility of a small-scale biogas plant for treating organic waste from a food processing factory in Maseru. The student is expected to perform multi-criteria to identify suitable technology or technologies. Then investigate the amount of energy generated versus the quantity of organic waste used and the amount of fertilisers produced. The student will be required to carry out an economic analysis to assess and compare possible scenarios from the different arrangements. In this regard the student to evaluate economically by analysing the Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return, Payback time, Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) and sensitivity analysis. Also in the research, the student will be required to estimate the emission savings against other options.
Supervisor: Dr Al-Mas Sendegeya; Project Brief: It should be noted that agriculture is among the largest employer in most countries especially in the developing countries in Africa. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, irrigation is among the measures that can improve yields, reduce vulnerability to changing rainfall patterns and enable multiple cropping practices. Though irrigation is considered as a practice to ensure food security, can generate incomes, provide jobs and drives rural development. The success of any irrigation scheme depends on the availability of sustainable energy service, i.e. energy is a key input for irrigation services. Solar PV powered irrigation schemes are widely becoming popular in different parts of the world, as solar technologies are becoming a viable option for both large and small-scale farmers. Solar PV powered irrigation schemes provide reliable and affordable energy, potentially reducing energy costs for irrigation. In rural areas where diesel fuel is expensive or where reliable access to the electricity grid is lacking, they can provide a relatively flexible and climate friendly alternative energy source. These systems can be used in large-scale irrigation systems as well as for decentralized, small-scale irrigation. The systems can easily replace fossil fueled irrigation schemes in most parts of the world. Despite the wide spread of solar PV powered irrigation schemes, there are pros and cons for these schemes. A study of these schemes should be carried out to establish the technical and non-technical issues with respect to specific case studies. In this project the student will be required to carry out an analysis giving the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of solar PV powered irrigation schemes with reference to Lesotho. As investment costs for solar powered irrigation systems (SPIS) are coming down and subsidy.
Supervisor: Dr Al-Mas Sendegeya; Project Brief: The potential for biogas production in various parts of Lesotho is easily justifiable. Biogas is a combustible gas mixture produced during the anaerobic digestion of organic matter in an anaerobic biogas digester. Anaerobic digestion has the advantage over aerobic treatment of a smaller emission of greenhouse gases. Therefore, biogas is a renewable green energy source. The technology of using fossil fueled e.g. diesel engines to operate on biogas is already proven possible in different parts of the world. The research considers the concept for the generation of electric power, using a biogas as a fuel in an electric power generating machine, wherein the biogas produced from biomass in a gas digester treated according to a scientifically proven process, may be directly charged to an electric power producing combustion turbine. The student has to investigate the treatment and degrading of waste before production of biogas during anaerobic digestion. The student will be required to investigate both the technical and economic feasibility of the generation of electricity by utilizing biogas from small scale digester as a renewable energy concept.
The national electricity sector has been liberalized since the inception of regulation in 2004, with increasing annual tariffs but virtually no private participation in generation to date. A strong possibility exist that some regulations or other policy instruments could unduly constrain consumer’s welfare and restrict potential producers by imposing rigid bureaucracy and unintended enforcement and compliance costs. A review of such policies and regulations, including estimated costs and benefits needs to be undertaken.
Supervisor: Dr Liphapang Khaba; Candidates would use: o The open-source GIS software (QGIS, MapWindowGIS, etc) to process remotely-sensed:  Topographic ASTER_GDEM data.  Surface for these rivers from the NASA GES DISC o Calculate and map monthly and annual kinetic energy and power along these rivers. o Associate this energy and power to basic rural community energy needs estimates (also to be compiled by the candidate) in these river valleys. Population data from BoS 2006 and 2016. o Relate challenges to sustainability of hydropower projects to environmental challenges, particularlly sedimentation citing examples of the defunct Khubelu and Tsoelike schemes.
Supervisor: Dr Liphapang Khaba; Candidates would use: o The open-source GIS software (QGIS, MapWindowGIS, etc) to process remotely-sensed:  Topographic ASTER_GDEM data.  Surface for these rivers from the NASA GES DISC o Calculate and map monthly and annual kinetic energy and power along these rivers. o Associate this energy and power to basic rural community energy needs estimates (also to be compiled by the candidate) in these river valleys. Population data from BoS 2006 and 2016. o Relate challenges to sustainability of hydropower projects to environmental challenges, particularlly sedimentation citing examples of the defunct Khubelu and Tsoelike schemes.
Supervisor: Dr Liphapang Khaba; Candidates would use: o The open-source GIS software (QGIS, MapWindowGIS, etc) to process remotely-sensed:  Topographic ASTER_GDEM data.  Surface for these rivers from the NASA GES DISC o Calculate and map monthly and annual kinetic energy and power along these rivers. o Associate this energy and power to basic rural community energy needs estimates (also to be compiled by the candidate) in these river valleys. Population data from BoS 2006 and 2016. o Relate challenges to sustainability of hydropower projects to environmental challenges, particularlly sedimentation citing examples of the defunct Khubelu and Tsoelike schemes.
Supervisor: Dr Liphapang Khaba; Candidates would use: o The open-source GIS software (QGIS, MapWindowGIS, etc) to process remotely-sensed:  Topographic ASTER_GDEM data.  Surface for these rivers from the NASA GES DISC o Calculate and map monthly and annual kinetic energy and power along these rivers. o Associate this energy and power to basic rural community energy needs estimates (also to be compiled by the candidate) in these river valleys. Population data from BoS 2006 and 2016. o Relate challenges to sustainability of hydropower projects to environmental challenges, particularly sedimentation citing examples of the defunct Khubelu and Tsoelike schemes.
Supervisor: Eng. Tawanda Hove; Solar water heaters have a potential to displace huge amounts of electricity, depending on the climatic conditions of a country; and their use can result in huge financial savings by their users, depending on the price of electricity. However, maximising these benefits requires that the solar water heating system be sized optimally. In this project, students will be required to develop a thermal and economic simulation model that will enable optimal sizing, performance prediction and economic analysis of solar hot systems under the climatic and economic conditions prevailing in Lesotho. A typical case study is the students’ residences at the National University of Lesotho. Required Resources: d. Meteorological database e. Computer with internet connection f. The F-CHART (http://www.fchart.com/fchart/) solar thermal system simulation software (https://www.homerenergy.com/ ) needs to be purchased for validation of the home-made program