General Research Project Ideas

1. Geography specific multi-disciplinary cost/benefit analysis of alternative energy resources connected to the power grid, based on technology trends and empirical studies

2. Power/performance tradeoffs of integrating renewable energy sources to microelectronic systems based on empirically based model development, and the development of sustainable microelectronic system architectures

3. Low power and/or energy aware design of computer systems and processing units


Ongoing Research Projects

1. Solar and Wind Energy Assessment Project in Northern Cyprus

(Assoc. Prof. Dr. Murat Fahrioglu, Mehmet Yenen)

Sustainable energy resources have been one of the hottest topics in recent years. SEES graduate program is growing and there is a push to increase the research in several specific areas. There is a good foundation in North Cyprus for solar and wind based distributed generation technologies. This project enhances the existing weather data collection system, by adding another data collection module with all the integrating connections and its own solar power system. Also to enhance the solar measurement station’s direct vs. diffuse solar insolation separation capabilities, a pyrheliometer and a solar tracker is added to the existing system. This will allow the measurement system to support the work related to the on campus concentrating solar power (CSP) farm. The new integrated system also has a wireless connection module to transmit all the collected data to an internal server in our labs for analysis. One of the goals of the project will be to analyze the collected data and suggest a portfolio of distributed resources for electricity generation. This can be on a small scale where a support system can be set up for a building on campus, or it can be extended to a bigger scale idea to have system integration of solar and wind based generation into the national power grid.

2. Feasibility of hybrid geothermal solar thermal (GeoSolar) power plants.

(Prof. Dr. Derek Baker)

As suggested by the Carnot Thermal Efficiency, due to the relatively low temperatures of geothermal resources a geothermal plant’s thermal efficiency is very sensitive to ambient temperature, decreasing significantly during the summer, and becoming minimized during the hottest part of a summer day. This is in contrast to solar resources which tend to be maximum on the hottest part of a summer day. Therefore geothermal and solar resources are temporally complimentary, which suggests an opportunity for hybrid geothermal solar thermal (GeoSolar) power plants. A new geothermal power plant is being commissioned in the Southwest region of Turkey, which is one of the sunniest regions in Turkey. A demonstration field of Parabolic Trough Collectors (PTC’s) will be installed on-site and their performance measured. The data will be used to develop guidelines and methodologies to assess the feasibility and guide the design of GeoSolar power plants. This research is being performed in collaboration with the METU Main campus and the company Temiz Yaratıcı Teknolojiler and is supported by TÜBİTAK TEYDEP (Grant 7120763).

3. Investigation of Electromagnetic/Microwave Energy Scavenging Techniques

(Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tayfun Nesimoglu)

The project’s objective is to study and propose techniques that may help to harvest the available electromagnetic energy, since the amount of available man-made energy in the air may be significant considering the number of transmitters scattered around the landscape. Furthermore, electromagnetic energy scavenging systems may be built together with other systems that harvest light, heat, vibration, etc and a hybrid system can be implemented. Therefore, this project is an opportunity to start collaboration between the academicians of METU-NCC and METU (Ankara) who are interested in energy scavenging, other renewable energy techniques, electromagnetics, microwaves and power.

4. A robust approach to evaluate wind turbine construction opportunities in Northern Cyprus

In Northern Cyprus producing and using the electricity is costly and more importantly it pollutes the air. Additionally in the near future electricity sources may not be sufficient to sustain the whole country. To partially overcome these problems we plan to work on wind energy and assess wind turbine construction opportunities in Northern Cyprus, especially around METU, NCC.
Before constructing a wind turbine it is necessary to have reliable information of wind speed at the location. The wind speed changes due to the season, elevation, roughness, and even with the pressure of the weather. Taking all of these parameters into consideration, we plan to start a project that will include modeling and analysis of wind speed data to investigate the possibility to construct wind turbines. In the context of the project time series models for wind speed characteristics together with the time series models for wind turbine responses will be studied. The research will also include cost assessment to examine how profitable to construct wind turbines.


5. Development of a hybrid renewable energy conversion station pilot for distributed power generation for rural and residential applications

Northern Cyprus suffers from problems associated with the vital trio (energy, environment, and water) more than many developing areas of the world. These problem areas tend to be interrelated. So are their solutions. For example, use of sustainable energy sources (such as solar and wind) promises to:
· Keep the rural environment clean by replacing the burning of fossil fuels, for example in water pumps, lighting network, and other rural applications;
· enable use of technology at remote locations for increased quality and productivity,
· allow natural water reservoirs to be pumped, purified, transported, and used at remote places.
In addition to the above, clean energy use has the indirect benefit of attracting the interest of environment-conscious tourists. In this project, a model for the hybrid use of clean energy sources will be developed first toward rural and residential use. The model will then be correlated to real data through a constructed prototype.


6. Development of Solar Systems with Metamaterials

(Assoc. Prof. Dr. Cumali Sabah)

The objective of this project is to study and propose new techniques to design, characterize, and analyze a new kind of systems/materials in the range of the solar spectrum in order to utilize the solar energy effectively. In this sense, new type(s) metamaterial (MTM) based solar cell(s) providing perfect absorption for both infrared and visible frequency range will be constructed and tested. This will help to form and develop novel MTM based solar cells and improve the existing solar systems. As a result, simple and efficient configurations for flexible and cost effective solar systems can be realized.

7. Renewable Energy Integration Percentage of a Power System

(Assoc. Prof. Dr. Murat Fahrioglu, Ozcel Cangul in collaboration with University of Liverpool)

The aim of this research is to investigate, analyse and find the maximal limits of the applicability of different renewable energy generation techniques in a given power system. The main focus of the research will be to realize the influence of renewable energy penetration into the power system grid, analyse the data, calculate and compare the maximal and optimal percentage values of renewable energy based power integration into the system. Maximal limit will be calculated on the basis of maintaining system health, while optimality analysis will be conducted considering economic and environmental aspects thus this research will be a complete guide towards the right choice of energy investment. Keeping in mind the economic, political and social importance of energy generation in today’s world, finding out the optimal integration ratio of renewable energy sources into our lives is vital for achieving a sustainable energy environment. This research will be focused on the power system grid of Northern Cyprus in order to be able to conduct a specific and in-depth analysis with real data.



(Undergraduate) Senior Design Projects

Solar Powered Temperature Controlled Water Fountain:

It is of interest to take advantage of solar energy in geographies like Cyprus to obtain warm and cold water in outdoor areas like various spots on a school campus, and remote locations where power is not readily available. In this project, the team will design a solar powered intelligent water fountain with capability to simultaneously provide hot and cold water on demand. The fountain will be fed from a standard 5 gal. container that is 1-1.5 m. above ground. Maximum efficiency is desired in scavenging and storing the available energy, and putting it to use for cooling, heating, and powering electronic components. The fountain should have:

  • An efficient tracking system to maximize the absorption of PV energy from any source (including sunlight) using a 5-6 W solar panel with 15 V nominal output
  • A digital indicator to show the level of energy stored in the 12 V lead acid system battery at any given time (the capacity is of your own choosing within your budget)
  • User input to specify the cold and hot water temperature within a range, heater and cooler on/off buttons display to indicate the estimated temperature of the cold and hot water


Low Power Water Purification Unit:


In some geographies, it is of interest to take advantage of renewable source or other limited capacity batteries to pump and purify tap or spring water into a clean container for drinking. In this project, the team will design a battery powered intelligent unit to purify, filter, and pump nearby low pressure water pool or tap into a standard 5 gal. container that is 1-1.5 m. above ground. Maximum efficiency is desired in the system operation to minimize mechanical and electrical power losses. The unit should have:

  • A digital indicator to show the amount of purified water in the container (assume it is not directly visible)
  • A digital indicator to show the power consumed by the system at any given time
  • A digital indicator of the amount of impurities in the water before and after the purification process user input to specify the pumping & purification rate


Intelligent Remote Controller for a Solar Powered Clean Water Fountain:


Since the energy available to portable machines powered by renewable sources or batteries is limited, it is often desirable to implement intelligent computing systems at the back-end with monitor and control functions to make real-time optimizations by changing operation modes. A good example of this is a notebook computer where the display may get dimmer as the battery gets depleted in order to extend the battery life. In this project, the team will design a system that wirelessly receives information from above units (1) and (2), implements algorithms to optimize expenditure of power based on existing conditions and user preferences, and transmits wireless control signals back to the units (1) and (2) to optimize the operation within each unit and also between the units (1) and (2). For example, the remote control system may prioritize water purification process over temperature control, if little energy is left in the solar charged battery, unless the user preferences specify otherwise. The remote control system should have:

  • Low power bi-directional transmitter/receiver units to communicate status from the water fountain to the base, and control from the base to the fountain (assume a maximum distance of 10 meters.
  • A low power user interface which includes some type of keypad and screen to get user preferences/inputs, and output water fountain status back to the user
  • A computing engine to process all the inputs received from units (1) and (2), together with user inputs, to determine next set of outputs to be sent to the water fountain and the pump.,
  • The whole remote control computer unit including the transmitter and receiver should be powered using 1.5 V batteries. The design should prioritize power management modes in order to maximize battery life.