Award Date

5-1-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Committee Member

Spencer Steinberg

Second Committee Member

Vernon Hodge

Third Committee Member

Jacimaria Batista

Fourth Committee Member

Paul Forster

Number of Pages

252

Abstract

Dust can impact the efficiency of solar energy collection devices, and in some arid environments, dust can reduce solar energy efficiency up to 30%. Reducing the impact of dust is therefore critical in the expansion of solar technology throughout regions where solar energy is utilized. Characterization of suspended and settled particulate matter can assist in developing strategies for dust mitigation. With the characterization of suspended and settled particulate in remote, rural, and urban environments, more informed decisions can be made regarding the selection of coating material on solar panels as well as developing cleaning and maintenance procedures. Particulate matter that deposits on a solar surface can potentially interact with solar radiation, precipitation, or even directly with the surface material itself. These interactions could lead to the formation of coatings that reduce/block radiation and/or degrade the integrity of the surface. When you extrapolate these possibilities to a larger scale preliminary characterization of dust will play a vital role when planning the construction of a solar energy facility.

A variety of sampling techniques were employed to obtain particulate matter for characterization. These included direct collection of particulates from solar surfaces: via vacuum and wipe sample collection on panels, tacky dot adhesive slides and plain slides that were exposed at different intervals, desert vugs that are natural particulate collectors, as well as high volume air sampling for collection of suspended particulates. High volume air sampling was performed using glass fiber filters and 2 micron stainless steel screens. Direct collection of settled particulates was performed by sampling from solar surfaces, vugs, and by collection on exposed glass surfaces. Collection onto glass surfaces was achieved by setting up a plain microscope slide, tacky dot slides, and panes of glass. The sampling ethodology allowed for the collection of samples for analyses using various analytical methods that included Raman microspectroscopy, pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry, ion chromatography and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. These various methods allow for identification of organic and inorganic components as well the mineral distribution of suspended and settled particulate material.

Keywords

Dust Characterization; Environmental Management; Nevada; Raman Microscopy; Solar Energy

Disciplines

Analytical Chemistry | Chemistry | Environmental Sciences

Language

English


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