Design and Manufacture of a Solar-Powered Snow Melter for Making Potable Water on Mt. Rainier. Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/sb397b04d

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  • Every Spring and Summer, thousands of climbers attempt to summit Mt. Rainier. Many of them stop at Camp Muir, a base camp at 10,000 feet, where they can use restrooms, camp overnight, or refill water bottles before continuing their climb. Camp Muir currently uses a gas system to melt snow into potable water, requiring a tank of propane to be flown by helicopter to the camp at the beginning of each season. This system is costly and not environmentally-friendly. International Mountain Guides (IMG), one group who organizes trips in small groups, wants to replace this water production system with one that incorporates green energy. This publication examines possible designs of a new snow-melting device, describes the selected design, and outlines future testing and evaluation. The final design is portable, uses solar-electric energy, and makes use of both conductive and convective heat transfer to increase efficiency. The melting system is contained within a five-gallon water cooler. Energy is collected and stored using a solar panel and battery pack. The battery pack supplies power to a heating element and pump, which heat the snow and recirculate water over remaining snow. The design will be implemented during the 2014 climbing season.
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