Mechanical Engineering Department

Degree Name

BS in Mechanical Engineering




Lee McFarland


With the slowly diminishing supply of fossil fuels across the world and the heightened risk of carbon dioxide pollution leading to global warming, a shift towards renewable energy is gaining momentum. Recent advances in wind and solar power technology have increased the power density of alternative sources while decreasing the cost per kilowatt-hour, but the technology has not become advanced enough yet for large scale deployment. Combined Power Cooperative has developed a revolutionary design for a concentrated solar power plant that utilizes Fresnel reflectors and a large body of water in which to install them. In addition to being low-cost, the system allows for an integrated large thermal storage tank that can be used as a heat exchanger, using cool ambient air to remove heat from the stagnant water. This senior project will develop a scale model of a commercial-sized deployment and instrument the system to investigate the effectiveness of the cooling. Furthermore, we will examine the viability of using it for a full size heat exchanging system in comparison to a typical heat exchanger. This report will clarify the design of the system and the methods for instrumentation and testing.