Document Type


Publication Date


Department or program for which this work was completed

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Renewable and Clean Energy Program

Name of faculty member who selected this work

Eric Lang


Project report required by the Master of Science Degree in Renewable and Clean Energy.


The region of La Guajira, located in the north of Colombia, has a lot of potential for wind power with annual average wind speeds up to 11 m/s at 10 m height in some locations, according to the national wind map. Most of the wind potential is located in Upper Guajira, where 90% of the population is indigenous Wayuu people (among the country’s poorest population) and it is also characterized with low precipitation, 500 mm/yr, high evapotranspiration, 1500 mm/yr, and low humidity. All this creates water scarcity and drought conditions in the area. Upper Guajira is also considered as non-interconnected zone, which means that most of its territory is not connected to a reliable electric grid, and when electricity is needed, most of the time it is generated with diesel power.

This project was developed to determine the potential of wind power generation to produce potable water in La Guajira through reverse osmosis, which has proved to be a low energy consumption process for water production (1-10 kWh/m3). The project also performed technical and economic analysis.

In order to do this, the project contain a description and analysis for 9 water plants; first evaluating the wind resource, defining three different wind turbines and defining operation conditions for the systems and cost analysis for different cases. Also, NREL software HOMER helped to simulate hybrid systems and determine optimum cases and sensitivity analysis of some variables.

The results obtained show that hybrid systems have to be considered as an option for ROD systems powered by diesel in off grid locations. For systems supplied by grid electricity, they should be considered if the mean wind speed is greater than 6 m/s. Also, feasibility was improved by modeling the systems with deferrable loads.


Energy Systems | Mechanical Engineering | Natural Resources and Conservation | Sustainability



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.