Student Clubs, Groups and Teams
WETT competed in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) in Calgary 2012. One of the primary focuses of the team this past year was a sustainable concrete mix design. That meant selecting ingredients for their mix that were strong enough for the sled and were the least damaging to the environment. The team's concrete mix this year consisted of equal amounts of fly ash and portland cement, minimal amounts of silica fume, grey water instead of tap water, and recycled latex paint. The team won 5 overall awards including – best concrete mix and best concrete reinforcement.
The Western Engineering first year class is broken into teams of 6 to 8 students and each team was given the task of designing a device to reduce barriers to accessibility – each have strong social impact. Examples include:
- Innovative Cooking Product for the Disabled: Engineered for Safety A design for an insulated pot to reduce the possiblity of burns, especially for the elderly or those with physical disabilities.
- The Coat Handy: An assistive device designed to assist an individual in putting on a coat. Targeted at the elderly or those with upper body mobility issues.
- Universal Rotating Wardrobe: A chest of drawers that rotates about a central axis, allowing easy access to those in wheelchairs, those with back problems or others who may have difficulty accessing upper or lower drawers in traditional units.
- Design of a farm-based COGEN plant by anaerobic digestion, (Ridgetown, Chatham);
- Hydrogen Removal/Recovery from Product CO2 in ammonia production plant (Terra Industries, Sarnia Ontario);
- Pre-treatment and drying of DDGs and abatement of odours from dryer stack(GreenField Ethanol, Chatham, Ontario);
- Municipal Wastewater Treatment using Membrane Bioreactor Systems;
- PBioethanol Production from Lignocellulosics present in Municipal Solid Wastes;
- Production of micro/nano-particles for cosmetics and targeted drug delivery;
- Integration of up-and downstream processing for biodiesel and green products production; and
- Integrated solar-biomass technology for production of green power and products
The competition included:
- Chemically Enhanced Primary and Secondary Treatment at the Greenway Pollution Control Centre in London, Ontario;
- Implementing Green Technologies in the Springett Parking Lot at Western University; and
- Tidal Irrigation System in the Gambia River
- Sustainable Personal Mobility System – System and Integration
- Sustainable Personal Mobility System – Vehicle Design
- Sustainable Personal Mobility System – Layout and Ergonomics
- Sustainable Personal Mobility System – a Movement to Save Civilization
- Design of a Micro-Hydroelectric Power Station (Joint project with National University of Singapore
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering – 4th year Design Competition for Academic Year 2009/2010
Two environmental projects:
- Improvement of Filtration Efficiency at the Elgin and Huron Water Treatment Plants
- Reservoir Design Project (Springbank Park)
The team competed in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race in Hamilton Feb 2010 – for the CIRCA award which is the most efficient use of fly ash in concrete. Fly ash is the by-product of coal burning for electrical production, fly ash if not used as a supplementary cementitious material would otherwise end up in landfills. Additionally it decreases the amount of required cement which requires a highly energy intensive process to produce. [See photos]
- Production of bio-oil by fast pyrolysis of biomass
The objective of this project is to design a fully functioning bio-oil generating facility that converts biomass to bio-oil through a fast pyrolysis process. The source of biomass will be a large perennial grass known as Miscanthus giganteus that has proven to be an extremely prolific non-invasive biomass producer which has been estimated to have a carbon sequestration potential of 1.5-1.9 tons per year per hectare. Higher demands for bio-oil and greener transport fuels have been identified as supplies of fossil fuel petroleum based oil declines. The production of bio-oil from fast pyrolysis using Miscanthus giganteus is a true testament to sustainable energy production and having a full scale plant utilizing this process would set an example for others to follow in the effort to build a greener future.
- Gasification of bio-oil to make high quality fuels
Bio-oil is a renewable liquid fuel obtained from pyrolysis of biomass. It is a crude and complex mixture of oxygenated compounds and is often associated with high amounts of water. Its direct use as a fuel is limited and upgrading is required to overcome the problems associated with its low calorific value, high water content, high viscosity, poor ignitability etc. However, it can be used in processes gasification, which are more tolerant of variations in feedstock composition. The synthesis gas produced from gasification of bio-oil can be used to produce green hydrogen thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum fractions. Further environmental and economic gains are expected from reduction in emissions of other pollutants such as sulphur, particulates and mercury.
- Mitigation of greenhouse gases by using coal in bio-oil slurry
The proposed facility aims at mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by utilizing renewable liquid fuels such as bio-oil in their crude and unrefined state on a large scale while taking advantage of existing infrastructure for energy production. The new approach is essentially based on preparing a slurry of fine coal particles in a liquid bio-fuel for the purposes of generating greener energy and fuels. Coal and petroleum fractions and their residues are expected to remain the main fuel resource for a long time due to their large reserves and easy availability in different parts of the world. The harmful environmental effects associated with the usage of coal can be mitigated to a significant extent by replacing part of the coal by bio-oil obtained from pyrolysis of biomass. By mixing bio-oil with coal in the right proportions, a suitable feed can be prepared for usage in processes such as gasification, which are more tolerant of variations in feedstock composition. Given the high transportation and handling costs associated with biomass, this is a more practical and cost-effective approach for utilizing renewable energy from biomass on a large scale. Conservative estimates show that reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide in the range of 25 to 30% per unit of power generated can be achieved. Further environmental and economic gains are expected from reduction in emissions of other pollutants such as sulphur, particulates and mercury.
- Sweetening of Natural Gas to Reduce Acid Gases
This project will present design of a plant for the removal of H2S and CO2 from an unsweetened natural gas source. The levels of acid gas contaminants must be reduced to trace amounts (usually between 1-5 ppm H2S and less than 100 ppm CO2) in order for the natural gas to meet government regulations. Once these conditions are met, the gas is able to be distributed to customers. Since natural gas is a commodity that is used by many, we believe that investigating into a more efficient process would be beneficial.
- Treatment of Aqueous Waste from Nuclear Operations to Remove Trace Radionuclide and Toxic Metals by Ion-Exchange
The objective of the following report is to design a facility for the treatment of aqueous waste from nuclear operations to remove trace nuclide and toxic metals. The facility will have a capacity of processing 3000 L of waste water per hour resulting in the treatment of 21.6 million litres of wastewater annually (based on 300 working days per year). Inputs into this facility include wastewater from nuclear operations and salty solutions for regenerate of the ion exchange resin. Outputs include clean water and encapsulated concentrated waste for long term disposal.
The Western Engineering first-year class is broken into teams of 6 to 8 students each and each team must design a “green” (environmentally friendly) technology, suitable for use as a classroom illustration, museum or science centre exhibit or any other type of display. [Watch video]
Includes projects such as:
- Design of an electric bicycle
- Design of an e-bike sharing system
- Design of a human-powered workbike tool
- Water recovery and recycling for fryer sanitation at Cargill Meats
- Design of brake and steering systems for Sunstang electric vehicle
- Design and Development of a Lab-scale Parabolic Dish Concentrated Solar Energy System
- Improved energy efficiency for residential homes
- Designing Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC)
- Determine the economic feasibility of installing & operating an alternative power generation system to replace or augment existing diesel driven generators in remote (off-grid) geographic communities
- Passive rooftop greenhouses for urban environments
Social Impact Theme
- Design of a glucose monitor for handicapped people (Sponsored by Tetra Society)
- Design of a stiffness testing mechanism for the TCu380A Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (this project addresses some important issues involved in the design of IUD contraceptive devices used as an effective birth control method in the developing world. This project is being done with sponsorship by the World Health Organization).