Environmental    Engineering
Environmental Engineering
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2014   Design   Team

First Place Team for Task 1 group photo

First Place Team for Task 1 – Open Tasks and the Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Award for Innovation in Sustainability.

The 2014 Montana Tech Environmental Design Teams returned to campus after competing at the 24th International Environmental Design Contest held April 6 to 9, 2014 at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Congratulations go out to Montana Tech’s Team B, who were awarded First Place for Task 1 – Open Task and also awarded the Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Award for Innovation in Sustainability.

The two teams were advised by Environmental Engineering Department Head Kumar Ganesan. Team A, which included students Chris Atherly, Josh Abrahamson, Adrianna Lundberg, Andrew Penamora and Shawn Smith, presented their project "Nanoscale Magnetite Mediated Arsenic Removal from Water." Team B, with students David Hutchins, Zach Maassen, Dustin Kaste, CJ Kissell and Joseph Rowe, presented their project "A Versatile Solution for Off-Grid Drinking Water Treatment."


Team A prepares for the judges

Team A preparing for the judges.

Team A’s project "Nanoscale Magnetite Mediated Arsenic Removal from Water," was to remove arsenic from water using nanotechnology. Arsenic contamination in surface water and ground water is a known global problem. Arsenic is a cancer causing substance that is from natural as well as manmade sources. The team of students used magnetite nanoparticles to capture the arsenic. The arsenic containing magnetite particles are then separated from the treated water using strong magnets. This simple arsenic treatment is very innovative and will be very effective in field applications. The magnetite particles are declared to be non-toxic by the FDA. The magnetite particles are inexpensive and commercially available.


Best Environmental Engineering Booth: A Versatile Solution for Off-Grid Drinking Water Treatment

Team B demonstrating their award-winning design. The project was featured in Future Structure in May 2014.

Team B’s project, A Versatile Solution for Off-Grid Drinking Water Treatment, proposes a solution to clean drinking water to those who do not have it. The worldwide lack of access to improved drinking water sources is a pressing problem. The World Health Organization estimates 780 million people go without clean drinking water every day.

The most significant challenge in providing clean drinking water is pathogen removal. Existing technologies are not meeting the demand for portable, off-grid, community scale treatment systems. Team B has designed, built and tested a system that fulfills all these requirements.

Team B's proposed treatment system is a portable, human-powered water filtration and treatment unit. The proposed system utilizes a modified bicycle trainer stand. The stand attaches to the rear axle of a bicycle, enabling the rider to pedal in a secure stationary position. The design allows an average sized bicycle to be pedaled between 5 to 6 miles per hour (8 to 9.6 kilometers per hour) and delivers water at 2 gallons per minute (7.6 liters per minute). The average rider provides more than enough power to operate the system. The water runs through a series of filters before it is sterilized to 99.99 percent microbial reduction by a 16 watt Ultraviolet sterilization unit that is also powered by the bicycle. With an approximate 90 percent duty cycle, an average rider could generate over 100 gallons per hour. The proposed technology is unique in that it is completely human-powered with no additional energy requirement to yield drinking water.

The proposed system will retail for $995 and will have a 10-year usable life when operated for 6 hours/day 360 days/year. Annual operating expenses under these conditions will include scheduled lamp and filter replacement totaling $323. When operated in this manner the system will produce over 220,000 gallons of drinking water per year for less than $2/1,000 gallons. This price per gallon puts the system costs on par with municipal water costs.