Lamar Buffalo Ranch Micro-District

Megan Oaklief, Kevin Amende, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, Mt, 59715

The picturesque Lamar valley in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) houses the Lamar Buffalo Ranch (LBR), a small off-grid educational campus serving as a test site for renewable energy systems with the goal of becoming fossil fuel free.
The LBR site was chosen due to its small population of buildings and lack of connectivity to power and gas grids. In 2014, YNP partnered with MSU to develop power and gas metering system for a new battery array put in to the ranch. This array was designed to be charged by a micro-hydro generator and photovoltaic solar panels. The final system will include a user interface for facility users to monitor building energy consumption and production as well as data visualization and analysis capabilities. This analysis will be ultimately utilized by LBR to enact appropriate changes to the system to become fossil fuel free in energy production.
Over the course of my internship at LBR I have acquired the skills necessary to both analyze and find effective solutions for a micro-district system. I learned how to program web interfaces to employ data collection software such as MangoEs, DTS310, and DTSSMX. By knowing how the software for each of these devices worked, I was able to cross reference the collected data with the metered production. For example, inconsistencies between past and current campus consumption data were discovered. The process for determining the cause involved proving the accuracy of production data from the micro-hydro, solar array, and propane tank. These inconsistencies were usually found to be caused by loose wiring, incorrect coding, or misplacement of monitoring equipment.
Ensuring accurate data collection for both consumption and production is important for informed decision-making. This new system will allow the Yellowstone National Park facility to move towards solely relying on renewable energy resources.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Megan Oaklief

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Poster

Subject: Mechanical & Industrial Engineering

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 5598