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Student Projects for Engineering Experience & Design

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Environmental Design Team:

Here’s the problem:

People everywhere need more and safer sources of drinking water.
Humanity must find a better and cheaper way to sequester carbon dioxide.
We also need more indoor, nutrient-rich spaces where we can grow food using low-energy lighting and heating.

Work on solving problems like these and you will:

-Learn how to engineer systems that support healthier air, water, soil and agriculture
-Apply your skills and knowledge economically and with minimal environmental impact
-Work with — and lead — your fellow student engineers
-Match your wits with some of the greatest minds of your generation
-Make the world a better place

Students research, develop and design sustainable solutions to real-life environmental challenges. The team showcases its innovative solutions at international design competitions held each year.

Clarkson’s Environmental Design Team has a growing record of winning entries in these competitions — including top honors in 2012 at the International Capstone Design Contest on Renewable Energy Technology at Mokpo, South Korea. Combining three novel technologies, the Clarkson team demonstrated the role of renewable energy in an integrated food and waste management system.

Over the past decade, the team has worked on projects, including an inland desalination process, an economical process to sequester carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plant emissions and a process for treating surface water so small farms can use it for crops.

This team also got the world’s attention when it produced technology that removes arsenic in small, water-delivery systems and domestic water systems.

Over the past three years, students designed, built and are now operating a cold climate greenhouse. The system is housed in a passive solar building and employs an aeroponic growing system, LED lights and extensive sensors and controls for energy efficiency. The greenhouse is part of an integrated process that also includes an anaerobic digester to convert campus food waste into heat and electricity. Effluent from the digester is used as fertilizer for the greenhouse and as soil for campus grounds. This reduces the need for commercial fertilizer. High-efficiency solar panels and a wood-pellet heating system provide additional thermal energy to the greenhouse and the digester as needed during the winter. The overall system will reduce the environmental impact of the campus by removing a portion of the waste stream, while generating renewable energy and locally grown produce.


Advisor:       Susan Powers and Stefan Grimberg