Sam is pursuing a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. He began his studies at UT Austin in the summer of 2013 and joined the Webber Energy Group in the summer of 2016. Before joining the group, he completed his master’s thesis studying the potential of plasmonic nanoparticles to enhance the efficiency of thin-film solar cells.
Sam’s research interests are in the intersection of renewable energy, desalination and geographic information systems. He is currently researching the potential to purify desalinate groundwater using integrated wind and solar energy. Desalination is generally an energy-intensive and costly process; however, under certain conditions, desalinating brackish groundwater using renewable energy can be both technically and economically viable. By employing geographic information systems, regions as large as the state of Texas can be analyzed to select sites with conditions amenable to the desalination of brackish groundwater powered by renewable energy. Treated water can serve as a storage medium for intermittent solar and wind energy. This provides an alternative to the more costly method of storing the generated electricity in batteries, while also allowing renewable energy sources to displace the need for fossil fuels. Sam is also interested researching the potential for an integrated plant to alternate between the production of purified water and generation of electricity for grid distribution in order to optimize its economic potential.
- Analysis of the Technical and Economic Potential of Purifying Brackish Groundwater on Texas State Lands Using Integrated Renewables and Desalination Facilities
Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of California, San Diego