Ahmad Aborjaradeh, Michael Conte, Sean Gillis, and Josh Levene
Farmers in Cameroon are stuck in a cycle of subsistence farming due to a lack of education, information, and resources. Climate change has made the farmer’s predicament only worse. As they toil to grow enough food for their family, there rarely is excess to sell into the market for a profit. Information about modern farming techniques and practices has largely not reached the farmers of Cameroon. Farmers cultivate on small plots of land that are being devastated by poor management of soil nutrients, misuse of fertilizers, and indiscriminate selection of crop locations. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have already proven their utility in other developing countries. By implementing GIS, farmers in Cameroon will be empowered will vital information to better manage their crops, resulting in greater yields and deceased operating costs. GIS’s integrated satellite maps and locational information capability can provide the Cameroon farmer with easy-to-read and highly visual geographic information. The overlaid maps will bring together critical information to make informed decisions on where to plant, fertilize, and irrigate crops. Instructed by our sponsor, Nju Divine Nde ( founder of the Village Light Fund in Cameroon), our project focuses on producing a promotional video and an informational poster that will motivate farmers to implement GIS into their farming practices and will also provide a foundation for future educational initiatives. The video and poster will teach farmers about the benefits of implementing GIS and the resulting long term financial rewards.
Victor Agudelo, Nick Deraney, Mike Enko, and Ronald Mazurkiewicz
As hot water is an expensive amenity for The Fundacion Paraguaya, Team Manure to Methane has designed a continuous batch biogas generator as well as created instructions for local operators on how to use it. We compared many different biodigester systems to select the most efficient and economical design for The Fundacion Paraguaya. During the research and development phase, we addressed such cultural constraints as language barrier and budget, as well as ensured such a design met with expert approval from professionals in the chemical engineering field for its functionality. As a result of our research, we were able to successfully design a biodigester and provide a materials list as well as instructions on how to use and maintain it. The design consists of a series of storage tanks that serve as containers for the manure as it decomposes. The methane generated this way rises up during the decomposing process and is captured in a common holding container (a plastic bag). The chosen digester design is in the format of a continuous batch system. We chose this method because it allows the manure to sit for 30 days, the minimum time it takes to sanitize the slurry, as well as provides a continuous production of methane. Our design lives up to the principle of "no waste will go to waste” of Cradle to Cradle textbook. Our design maximizes the nutrient value in the once harmful and dangerous sludge as it produces a potent and healthy fertilizer as a byproduct. To guarantee that our system could be understood and implemented at the School, the designs will be provided in Spanish as well as English. After many weeks of research, we are confident that our design will help reduce the School’s dependence on electricity.
Ken Angeliu, Eimy Bonilla, Conor Geary, and Matt Roy
The Mbaracayu Forest Reserve School in Paraguay lacks an adequate sewage processing system. However, many modern techniques for producing clean effluent utilize expensive and environmentally damaging chemicals. A more sustainable alternative exists by using naturally occurring macrophytes and microbes to purify raw sewage. Through literary research and working with Martin Burt of the Fundacion Paraguaya, sponsor of this project, we designed a parallel lagoon system that uses water hyacinth and natural processes to create clean effluent which is discharged away from the community. Raw sewage enters the system at an elevated position and is slowly driven by gravity through a series of lagoons with different functions and processes that reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, TSS, BOD, and pathogens from the sewage to acceptable levels. The flow is controllable by manually operated gates. The parallel lagoons are interconnected by pipes and operable gates to allow parts of the system to be bypassed for maintenance or in case of malfunction. In addition to producing safe effluent, this system creates two sustainable agricultural resources for the school in sludge and water hyacinth. The sludge can be used as a fertilizer rich in organic material and nutrients including phosphorus and nitrogen. Water hyacinth can be utilized as compost, animal feed, rope, and for paper fabrication. This solution will provide the Mbaracayu school with necessary sewage treatment and two sustainable resources for agriculture while hopefully providing a template to other communities in developing countries across the world.
Poster Presentation, Judge's Winner (2011)
Alex Bacon, Jackson Beall, Athena Casarotto, and Ryan McKenna
Modern wind turbines display only 40% efficiency in harnessing the kinetic energy of wind for electrical generation. Nature has provided engineers with the concept of tubercles. Current tubercle-lined designs require complete replacement of the turbine blade, at a high cost, thus a need exists for a retrofit option to lower the cost of implementation. To analyze the effectiveness of a retrofit versus a fully tubercle-lined airfoil, InVentus obtained a virtual model of a standard turbine blade, then constructed tubercles on a duplicate model, comparing aerodynamic test results with those of fully tubercle-lined designs. This research shows that through further testing and model optimization, such as utilizing more tubercles per blade, a standard turbine blade retrofitted with tubercle units can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of existing wind turbines in similar form to complete replacement of blades, at a far lower cost.
Hannah Bailey, Nicole Holmes, John Morrow, and Fiona Ogren
In the developing countries of Haiti and Vietnam, thousands of families and individuals have faced the loss of their homes and lives due to natural disaster. However, this loss of life and prop-erty was not due solely to the natural event itself but also to the general lack of preparation or protection available to the communities. In the aftermath of a disaster many in these countries were, and are, left without homes. The mission of this project is to design the optimal type of housing so that families living within Haiti and Vietnam will, in the event of disaster, have a home to return to. These designs will be in the form of detailed computer drawings and details on specific recommended building materials. The homes are to be built to withstand either hurri-canes and flooding, or major seismic events, while remaining affordable and simple enough that the method of construction can be taught to those who are to live in the homes. In designing these homes the cultural and traditional requirements of the Vietnamese and Haitian populations were taken into account. The materials used for construction of the homes were chosen carefully from those that could be sourced locally, thus making the home designs both sustainable and beneficial to the local economy. In the design of these homes the group hopes to incorporate sustainable de-sign, cultural tradition, and modern safety principles, in order to produce architectural drafts and recommendations which humanitarian relief organizations, such as Conscience International, can use to build structures which can truly embody the safety and comfort of a home.
Megan Bredes, Jessica Ma, Luis Vinke, and David Wians
The Museum of Russian Icons requested a green assessment of the museum and recommendations on how they could improve the sustainability of the museum. Our approach to this problem was to perform an energy audit on their building. After performing the energy audit we were able to confirm that the museum already had a number of green technologies implemented, but there was still room for improvement.
Dominick Calvao, Marc Gelin, Steven Kordell, and Adam Trumbley
Part of the mission of Mbaracayu Forest Reserve School in Paraguay is to educate children and their families in different forms of sustainable energy that will hopefully be implemented in their homes as well. One such form of alternative energy is produced by the school’s Scheffler Reflector, a device used to concentrate the sun’s rays onto a single point for the purpose of heating water to be used for cooking and cleaning. The problem, however, is that the reflector’s tracking system is malfunctioning; if it cannot follow the sun then it cannot focus the sun’s rays and the energy is lost. Our project team designed a solution to this problem by replacing the tracking system of the school’s reflector with an electric system controlled by a computer chip interface. We will provide the school with the tracking system, an instructional pamphlet that will help school personnel operate and maintain the reflector, and the computer program that will control the reflector’s movement. This will ensure that reflector can be used to its fullest potential, to both educate the students and reduce energy costs for the school.
Andrea Caprio, Daniel Dorfman, Matthew Forman, and Wanbin Li
Deep within the rural communities of Paraguay, the residents of Ygatimi, a small village, obtain the clean water they use for drinking, cooking, and bathing by manually bucketing the water from a local well. Team Flow is faced with the challenge of developing a potable water distribution system that allows the residents of the community easier access to a constant supply of clean water. The proposed solution calls for a gravity driven distribution system, primarily consisting of a water tower, well pump, and a pipe network that leads to each individual dwelling. Strong recommendations will additionally be made with regards to water quality and testing to ensure the water supply is kept clean and free of diseases and pathogens. Team Flow’s distribution network would be linked into six existing smaller community water systems that currently service approximately 250 families. The new system will reach out to encompass a five kilometer radius around a central water tower and would immediately provide water to an additional 250 families. The system would have the potential to supply water to another 500 families in the near future. This report contains an analysis of numerous components that could be used to construct the system along with an overarching recommendation of which components Team Flow feels when combined, would create the best system.
Allison Corriveau, Kevin Payne, Amanda Pierce, and Ryan Thornhill
Living in a country where frequent power outages can be extremely challenging. In many cases there is no generator to restore power during the outage because they are too expensive for developing countries to purchase. Now imagine a low cost uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that the people of these countries could afford. That is the purpose for the Enzi Interface developed by the company Waste To Watts (W2W). The purpose of this project is to aid W2W improving the Enzi.
Joshua Curto, Domenic Mucci, Robert Perry, and Mai Tomida
Worldwide usage of aluminum is increasing annually due to urbanization, and with this information comes the question, what to do with the bauxite residue. The Bayer Process of aluminum production has been in use since its inception 120 years ago, however it produces a very dangerous and toxic byproduct red mud. Every ton of alumina that is produced through use of the Bayer Process creates three tons of red mud, which is then stored in extremely large volumes (millions of tons). The high alkalinity, toxicity, and pH all attribute to the dangerous aspects of red mud, and have made it an alarming threat to mankind and the environment. In this regard the main research goal was to establish Carbon Dioxide sequestration as an effective bauxite residue neutralization technique. Also, after neutralization, research was carried out and it was found that bricks, cements, and ceramics could be made or made stronger by the red mud. Extraction of metals from Red Mud was a possibility at all times, however efficiency was an issue. More over, the team has aimed to determine the efficacy of this method as a stabilizing agent, and to potentiate productive utilization of neutralized bauxite residue. Following the project outcomes, the team recommends the use of Carbon Dioxide sequestration for bauxite residue neutralization so that it can be further reused at a significantly reduced cost.
Kyle Davidson, Nathaniel Goodale, Laura Hart, and Sam Hastings
Lithium-ion batteries are quickly becoming the dominant product in the rechargeable battery industry. As global production of these batteries increases, so does the rate at which the materials used to make them is depleted. Upon reaching end-of-life, most lithium-ion batteries make their way into the municipal waste stream, their components wasted. Others saw this problem and have developed exceptional processes by which lithium-ion batteries can be recycled. Despite these processes being available, the incentive to recycle is not, and the lack of supply to recycling companies renders the processes unprofitable. This project endeavors to provide the framework by which incentives to increase the recycling of lithium-ion batteries can be implemented.
Ben Fletcher, Lena Pafumi, Kyla Rodger, and Cheryl Travison
The goal of this project is to implement the objectives of Let’s Move!, a national initiative intended to reduce the problem of childhood obesity around the country through education about healthy nutrition and the importance of physical activity, in the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts. This will allow the Museum to become a successful member of the program. We accomplished this by finding ways to demonstrate the importance of healthy eating in the museum, and also by making recommendations consistent with the Museum’s mission of enhancing relations between Russia and the United States. Our main objective was to create a pamphlet to be used at a holiday festival planned by the Museum. This pamphlet provides recipes for traditional Russian dishes, along with the same recipes slightly altered to include healthier ingredients, and general information about healthy nutrition. We also researched the food in the Museum’s café, and provided the Museum with a food service from which to order, as well as a recommendation of foods to order for the café, in order to serve foods that are consistent with the goals of Let’s Move! These pamphlets and recommendations will help the Museum of Russian Icons to become a member of Let’s Move! while at the same time facilitating the Museum’s better connections with the local community, and providing information to help visitors in their daily lives, and showcasing significant aspects of Russian culture.
Kyle Gagnon, Melissa Landi, David Mihal, and Sarah Mavilia
As it is in the recycling of any products, energy cost and sustainability are two major concerns that are constantly dealt with. Addressing such problems, we developed an index that ranks the recyclability of different aluminum alloys so that it is easier for designers to choose what alloys should be used to make their products more recyclable. The Earth, much like an island, only has a finite amount of resources, and in these current times is being consumed at continuously increasing rates, and not enough is being recycled. If industries begin designing their products with the end in mind, this including the materials used, the actual process of recycling would be made much more cost effective and environmentally friendly. However, designers do not have a standard index that describes aluminum alloys by how recyclable they are to aid in the practice of selecting alloys for industries. Through creating these indexes, we hope to reduce new aluminum being produced by transitioning towards a more recycle-orientated industry. There needs to be a change in mind set of industries to have a greater focus on sustainability rather than creating new alloys to up the competition, thus reducing the recycling capabilities of their products.
Philip Sigurd Jacobsen, Aras Nehir Keskin, Ni Pan, and Linan Zhang
As humans have evolved, so has our technology. As electronics flourished, they became more common placed in daily life, controlling much of the ebb and flow of life. Yet, same as their creators, all the electronics have a life span, and an end. The current path old electronics take is one of environmental destruction, material squandering, and human self-affliction. Team E-Cactus has research not only the current state of electronic waste, but also how many countries, companies and even local organizations try to recover any electronics so they can to see that they are remade for a better use. In par with what has already been laid down in terms of standards and policies for countries and companies alike, Team E-Cactus has taken towards making it possible to adapt and implement these fore standing practices to be used by any and all where the need be applied. This is with the hope that discarded electronics are not so, but rather recycled, reclaimed or reused, for a better healthier, and more plentiful future.
John Muthee, Bipul Pyakuryal, Lili Zhang, and Xinyue Zhong
Residents in Rhumsiki, Cameroon have water problems. Seasonal rainfall provides inconsistent amounts of water. But of even greater concern is the danger of water-borne diseases. Our project focused on providing a steadier supply of water, and cleaning the dirty water from all of the sources to prevent people in Rhumsiki from getting fatal infectious diseases like cholera. After researching we came up with three possible solutions for cleaning the water: Lifestraw, Lifesaver bottle, and SODIS (SOlar water DISinfection); and one possible solution for extracting water from existing wells: The solar water pump. The least expensive of the filtration technologies is SODIS, so our recommendation for Rhumsiki is to implement this process.
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