Nesa-Maria Ashley Anglin, Patrick Ford, Timothy Momose, and Xuanya Zhang
For two decades, the Kingston Harbour in Jamaica has been a site for industrial pollution. Toxins emitted by a local cement plant have turned this once celebrated landmark into a dumping area for all those people who make their living in the surrounding communities. Our project aims to alleviate this problem through two separate pathways. The first of our goals is to construct a natural water treatment plant, using a five-part infiltration basin system to remove suspended solids, heavy metals, nitrates, and phosphates from the refuse water that is being discharged from the Caribbean Cement Company into the ocean. The second aspect of our plan deals with educating the public in environmental matters to ensure the sustainability of the technical improvements which we are proposing. We plan on installing video screens and information posters that explain the technology that is being put to use and encourage the visitors to carry forward the ideas which they have learned “in the classroom” back to their homes and towns. We also plan to reach out to local college students to educate the Rae Town fishing village about ways in which they can help to restore the Harbour to its pristine state. Due to the role that the sea plays in the lives of the Kingston Harbour residents, we feel that most members of the community will be receptive to the changes which we hope to implement. The multidisciplinary solution which we are proposing will not only solve a pollution problem, but will lead to the development of environmental awareness about the fragile nature of the ecosystem that the local community relies on.
Donal Boyd, Cody Fulcher, Gabriel Lyon, and Robert Monteith
More focus is being aimed at “saving the planet” than ever before. This project intends to elaborate on this crucial problem by tackling one of the major challenges that contribute to the cause for concern; energy consumption and waste management in residential settings. Much of the housing infrastructure currently in place is far from environmentally ideal and even raises health concerns. The major problems include energy consumption, waste management, toxicity levels in building materials, recyclability of building materials and environmental impact. Through extensive research, we have constructed a solution to this complex problem. By combining a series of pre-existing technologies, we have created a more sustainable and desirable type of apartment complex.
Shawna Brierly, Bianca Castagna, Ryan Kimmel, and Daniel Miller
The Earth is almost completely covered in water, but only 0.007% is accessible drinking water. Sadly, in many of the world’s developing countries, there is a serious scarcity of clean drinking water. Many of their possible sources have become contaminated due to poor sanitation throughout the developing world and is one of the main causes of this scarcity. In order to address these water shortages, our group has designed two water vapor condenser models, the “Refrigerator Style Model” (Model A) and the “Metal Nalgene Bottle Model” (Model B), with Model B being the most feasible. Both of our designs condense water vapor from the air and produce clean potable water. However, each design has its own characteristics, and in order to compare them, we used a decision matrix. These designs are still in the developing stages, and require extensive prototyping and analysis in order to optimize water production. Our target areas are where there is both a high demand for water, and the air is humid for most of the year.
Poster Presentation, Judge's Winner (2009)
Kellie Chadwick, Adam Blumenau, Markus Ito, and James McLaughlin
The goal of this project is to construct a house that is sustainable, selfsufficient, and low-maintenance through the use of three strategies that would ensure its higher efficiency. The concept of this “smart” home is based on energy efficiency, natural integration and the use of control mechanisms. Energy efficiency will be achieved by utilizing renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal power and by the smart management of its energy input and output to reduce the overall usage and cost of energy. The home will also use natural integration: and take advantage of pre-existing biological systems and other non-mechanical methods to reduce the amount of energy required to power and maintain it. These functions will all be administered through a centralized control mechanism much like a computer. The overall goal of the “smart” home will be not only to reduce the cost of living for its owner but to decrease its impact on the environment and help improve the conditions for those in and around it. By intelligently designing a home from the beginning and through use of sustainable methods, we can improve its internal living conditions and cut down on the cost of running it while at the same time minimizing its harmful impact it has on the environment.
Spencer Coffin, Amy Loomis, Alec Sirocki, and Peter Wallace
The purpose of this project was to design and build a socially and technologically sustainable energy-harvesting device that captures and transforms wasted kinetic energy into electrical energy for storage and later use. Using electromagnetic induction to capitalize on Faraday’s Law, our ideal system involves a coil of wire, a suspended, oscillating magnet, a diode bridge rectifier, and a rechargeable battery that would produce enough power to charge a pocket-sized electronic device. As an alternative source of energy, targeted towards individual users, this kinetic energy harvesting device provides a sustainable source of electricity without ever using energy from the power grid.
Lauren D'Angelo, Brian Karolicki, Nataniel Lobel, and Sheila Werth
The aim of our project is to create a model for a sustainable home in New England that is more efficient and environmentally friendly than previous housing models for the main purpose of lowering the homeowners’ carbon footprint. In order to achieve this goal we have researched the main aspects in house design. These aspects include areas such as: structural materials and exterior aesthetics, interior need-based technologies, green energy options, and ideal housing and room placement. By compiling our research, we have created a model home that appeals to the general New England population. This model offers suggestions of small changes in a house that ultimately lowers its energy consumption. Also, we recommend larger remodeling projects, such as the installation of green energy sources, as homeowners’ investments. Special attention and application of the components we researched contributes to a healthier neighborhood environment. This in turn would optimally create a local appeal in sustainable housing and consequently help minimize the carbon footprint of a homeowner.
Paul Gasper, Katherine Mattern, and Max Worth
To provide the people of Southern Iraq with clean, safe drinking water.
Petra Hartman, Brett Limone, James Loy, Steven Mahar, and Joseph Taleb
The public transportation system is vital in major cities where mobility via personal automobile is limited. The current system in major cities provides numerous citizens with a viable means to travel not only for leisure but for professional purposes as well. In this day and age the technologies available for a more sustainable system are plentiful. The purpose of this project is to research and analyze the current taxi, bus and subway systems in major cities and propose both short and long term changes that benefit the system as a whole. Members of the group will research both the current system and new technologies and propose both simple and complex improvements. Flywheels, super capacitors, and compressed air are some of the potential technologies that are available and could improve the efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of the public transportation system. A few cities will be studied in particular, including New York City, Boston, and Oklahoma City; however the new technologies can be implemented in every city across the country
Drew Martin, Patrick Sheehy, David Sun, and Joseph Stella
Global climate change is ravaging our world. There are many possible solutions, but one practical method is to start constructing more sustainable buildings. One key aspect to sustainable buildings is green roofing. With the construction of the new recreational center on campus beginning soon, we hope to have WPI set an example as an institution committed to sustainability and place a living roof on top of the new building.
Jonathan Rodgers, Patrick Sheppard, Christine Tang, and Jacquelyn Tupper
Adequate food supply is one of the greatest problems that humanity will face in the 21st century. Earth’s population is expected to hit 9.5 billion by 2050. To support this population with our current practices of industrial agriculture, another billion hectares of land would have to be deforested and transformed into farmland. We do not have this land at our disposal anymore. Modern industrial agriculture is not sustainable. Its methods degrade ecosystems, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, consume 70 percent of the world’s fresh water, and diminish biodiversity. An alternative to modern agriculture, however, does exist: forest farms. They revitalize ecosystems, are independent of artificial inputs, are more productive and biologically diverse, and also reverse greenhouse gas emissions through carbon sequestration. The fundamental principle behind a forest garden is simple: apply the concepts and ecology of a forest to the landscape of a farm. Forests are self-renewing, input-free, biologically diverse, highly productive, and environmentally sustainable. The focus of our project was to explore these benefits and determine whether forest gardens are feasible in terms of economics, productivity, and sustainability. We would like to examine the feasibility of forest gardens in developing countries and their potential contribution to the reduction of poverty and hunger. To understand the true potential of forest gardens, we approached them both as a research topic and as a current agricultural practice that is taking place as close to us as Leverett, MA. We made a field visit to a local forest farm which helped us grasp the complexity and benefits of a forest garden. From our research and field visits, we have determined that forest gardens can significantly mitigate climate change, as well as contribute to the reduction of poverty and hunger across the globe.
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