Two graduate students (Grace Burleson and Nicholas Moses) and two undergraduate students (Elizabeth Andreyka and Josh Johnson) from mechanical and humanitarian engineering have been selected with 12 other teams from across the country for the spring cohort of Venturewell's Student e-Teams. This opportunity will help the students to bring their research from idea to reality in order to make an impact on the world through entrepreneurial coaching and potential investments.
The students are working with Assistant Professor Dr. Nordica MacCarty and partners at InStove and Agua Pura El Pueblo to develop and implement a high-efficiency water pasteurization system for use in communities around the world. Pasteurization is an important way to kill the pathogens in contaminated water that are responsible for diseases like diarrhea and cholera that are attributed to 1.5 million deaths annually. However pasteurization is typically achieved by boiling water on open fires -- an inefficient and polluting practice. The water pasteurization system developed by InStove and tested by the students is a highly-efficient and fast process that produces 8 liters of sterilized water per minute (about the same flow rate as your kitchen faucet) using 97% less energy than traditional boiling methods. That's enough water to meet the needs of over 1000 people each day for only a tiny amount of fuel, thanks to a heat recovery system included in the design.
The next steps for the project include attending the Venturewell workshop in Boston this April and beginning field tests of the system in Haiti and Uganda this Summer. A group of mechanical engineering graduate students from ME 522 (Measurements in Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer) are currently characterizing the temperature profile and flow rates throughout the system to support future modeling efforts. And results of microbiological testing completed over Winter break will be presented at the 2017 ASME International Design Engineering and Technical Conference -- Design for the Developing World Symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio this August.