2023 EEE Senior Design Projects

A Life Cycle Analysis of Routine Bloodwork at RUSH University Medical Center

RUSH University Medical Center (RUSH) is a tertiary academic hospital located in Chicago, IL. RUSH has 671 patient beds and is the largest non-governmental employer on Chicago’s near West Side with over 10,000 employees and an annual spending of over 550 million dollars. RUSH’s mission is to improve the health of the individuals and the diverse communities we serve.

Despite the Health care industry’s directive to do no harm, the health care sector is responsible for 8-10% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. If the US health care sector were a country, it would rank 13th in the world for greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for more emissions than the entire United Kingdom.

During hospitalizations, blood is drawn for diagnostic laboratory tests to help guide patient care. Often, blood tests continue to be ordered even in the face of clinical and laboratory stability, meaning that even when patients are doing well these tests are routinely ordered. Blood draws are painful, costly, and may have a significant environmental impact. This environmental impact has not been studied in the US and the team has been tasked with conducting a life cycle assessment to decrease the unnecessary utilization of these tests.
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Circular Economy Roadmap

Evonik Corporation Tippecanoe Laboratories is a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) for pharmaceutical, intermediates, research, and animal health companies within the Evonik Nutrition & Care Division. Sustainability is a leading business principle for Evonik Nutrition & Care and Tippecanoe Laboratories.

The Tippecanoe Laboratories recycling programs have been in place for numerous years and are in need of attention. The project will evaluate traditional recycling materials as well as non-traditional including chemicals and raw materials that end up as hazardous and non-hazardous waste. The project will also evaluating digital tools for calculating CO2 or CO2 equivalent emissions and tracking of recycled and reused materials. The tools will assist in tracking CO2 reductions or elimination through progress with the project objectives.
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Cloud Hardware Material Composition Analysis

Microsoft's Cloud business is experiencing explosive growth, and the Capacity, Supply Chain & Provisioning (CSCP) organization is responsible for enabling the infrastructure and industry-leading supply chain underlying this growth. As Microsoft scales to become the global leader in cloud deployments and services, they are embedding sustainability across the product lifecycle by deeply understanding the environmental impact of their supply chain and cloud hardware underpinning cloud growth.

Cloud hardware, in particular silicon-based devices and servers have been found to contain some of the most embodied carbon intense parts, pieces, and components of any manufactured product. Microsoft CSCP has provided a selection of Cloud hardware for students to engage in teardown analysis. The project requests evaluation of general feasibility, cost, and size/scope of the project estimated for scale. The project will further enable analysis of materials composition, embedded material vs functional value recovery, cost vs value tradeoff, commodity parts vs customizable parts, and is expected to help Microsoft guide Cloud hardware design for sustainability.
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Developing Uses of Recycled Roofing Shingle Products for Non-Roofing Applications

GAF is a leading supplier of building materials with leading product offerings for both residential and commercial roofing segments. Headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, GAF has twenty-seven manufacturing operations in the US and four R&D locations. A majority (>75%) of the US residential roofs are asphalt shingle based. GAF estimates approximately thirteen million tons of waste is generated each year as a result of roof replacement due to end of life or special event causes such as hail. Less than ten percent of this waste is actually diverted from the landfill. GAF wants to solve this fundamental issue for a major roofing product.

GAF has developed a proprietary process to recycle asphalt shingles into two product streams. One stream can be used within GAF to make new asphalt shingles and the other stream produces recycled asphalt shingle (RAS) briquettes that can be partially used to make new asphaltic shingles. GAF is exploring alternative non-roofing applications for usage of the RAS briquettes. GAF has shortlisted four key areas of alternative use for the team to assess. The team will also explore applications beyond these four identified areas.
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Environmental Cost/Benefit Analysis of “Tool Rental Library”

As a workwear company, Carhartt is always looking for better ways to serve and protect hardworking people, and is heavily invested in supporting the communities in which they operate. As part of that goal, they opened the “Carhartt Workshop” in 2020. The Workshop, which is situated above Carhartt’s flagship retail store in Detroit, MI, is a free-to-use tool rental library and knowledge source for hard working people that seek to make their community a better place to live. This project will seek to assess and quantify the carbon emissions impact of a “tool rental library” for home renovation projects, as compared to typical consumer activity of purchasing tools as needed for a given project. This study will mostly focus on the entire-value chain greenhouse gas emissions from such a library, using data from the Carhartt Workshop and aligning the approach with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This project hopes to support other such tool rental libraries in their own journey, by showcasing the positive impact they can have on the environment, beyond their community impact.
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Impacts of Converting Forest Land to Solar

Invenergy LLC is expanding their utility-scale solar projects from mainly utilizing agricultural land. As the renewable energy industry continues to grow, the least impactful land to utilize is decreasing, causing companies to look to additional land options for development. Invenergy LLC is exploring the impacts of expanding their projects to include converting forested timber-harvesting land for solar use.

Invenergy LLC would like an in-depth analysis done of all potential considerations surrounding converting land currently being used as a timber forest into a utility-scale solar project, as compared to using typical agricultural farmland for project development. The analysis should review factors including, but not limited to, runoff, carbon offsets within the project life cycle, habitat disturbance, project economics, maintenance, community relations, and potential constructability concerns.
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Implementation of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Tool to Analyze Environmental Tradeoffs Within Sustainable Workplaces

At General Motors (GM), our vision is to create a world with zero crashes, zero emission, and zero congestion. Under the “Zero Emissions” pillar, GM established multiple public sustainability goals, targeting a reduction in scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions, with an overarching goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

The purpose of this project is to research and review current technologies, methodologies, and assessment conditions to assist GM with developing a streamlined LCA tool that can efficiently compile and visualize a variety of environmental criteria. This ensures all funded projects adequately support the overarching goal of carbon neutrality, without allowing for unseen & unacceptable environmental tradeoffs. Deliverables can expect to include: a recommendation on LCA software and assessments that fit the program’s needs, additional data reporting tools needed, and a framework for the life cycle assessments of engineering projects.
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MS4 Program Development/Implementation for the Wabash River Watershed

Wessler Engineering is a civil and environmental engineering firm based in Indianapolis that specializes in wastewater, drinking water and stormwater projects. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) issued the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit in December 2021. The permit identified new requirements for entities that have been designated as MS4s in Indiana to fulfill during their permit term of 5 years. The General Permit has requirements within 6 Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) that each MS4 program must address.

The Wabash River is on Indiana’s 303(d) List of Impaired Waters and a TMDL (total maximum daily load) study found that the waterway is impaired for nutrients. The objective of this project is to develop an MS4 Program to address the impairments present in the Wabash River. This evaluation shall include developing tasks for each MCM.
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Operation Clean Sweep Pellet Remediation

LyondellBasell (LYB) sells products into more than 100 countries and is the world's largest producer of polymer compounds and a leader in polyolefin technologies. LYB develops, manufactures and markets high-quality and innovative products for applications ranging from sustainable transportation and food safety, to clean water and quality healthcare. With innovative material solutions and recycling technologies, LYB is dedicated to creating a brighter, cleaner, and healthier future for generations to come.

LYB sells polymer products in the form of 2-5 mm pellets, flakes and powders, which are handled at multiple points from creation to customer delivery. Plastic is primarily transported by railcar in the US, which is loaded from hatches on top of the cars. As part of their GoalZero initiative and commitment to Operation Clean Sweep, LYB wants to address historic contamination by investigating clean up methods and costs to remediate old unit areas and active railroad loading and unloading sites. Specifically, one focus of this project will be removing historic plastic pellets from railroad ballast.
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Purdue University Organic Waste Diversion Study

Purdue University’s 2020 Physical Facilities Sustainability Master Plan established goal M-1 to achieve an annual campus waste recycling (diversion) rate of 50% by FY25, aligning with the state of Indiana’s goal (IC 13-20-25-1) to recycle at least fifty percent of its municipal waste. Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) 2021 Recycling Index Report identified organic waste diversion as a key impact area in reaching the states goal of 50% recycling. Across the state, as well as nationally, there is a lack of adequate infrastructure to correctly divert organic waste.

A study is needed to understand current and future flow of these materials on campus, determine the feasibility of diversion methods, and inform procurement and operations planning. Purdue University Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability is requesting the team provide deliverables for mapping the movement of and evaluating the quality of the organic waste stream materials. They should also quantify costs of the current system and evaluate current diversions methods at campus, locally, and regionally.
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Purdue University Transfer Station Relocation Impact Study

Purdue University’s 2020 Physical Facilities Sustainability Master Plan established goal M-1 to achieve an annual campus waste recycling (diversion) rate of 50% by FY25, aligning with the state of Indiana’s goal (IC 13-20-25-1) to recycle at least fifty percent of its municipal waste. The operational success of this goal is largely dependent on a regional system of public and private organizations who haul, handle and process Purdue University’s municipal solid waste (MSW). An integral part of the local regional system is the Tippecanoe County transfer station, where Purdue currently hauls the majority of its MSW. A plan was released in January 2023 proposing the transfer station relocates notably farther away from campus.

Purdue University Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability along with Purdue Grounds is requesting a study to evaluate the significance of the transfer station’s move on Purdue’s operations and to determine the feasibility of measures needed to mitigate any negative effects. There is interest in finding a solution which reduces the operational strain, while also enhancing the economics and increasing the diversion rate.
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Renewable Energy at Fishers Wastewater Treatment Plant

The City of Fishers is a suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana, located in Hamilton County and was named #1 Place to Live in the US by Money Magazine in 2017. With a population of 101,171 in 2021, Fishers is one of the fastest growing communities in Indiana and has received national accolades for entrepreneurship, livability, and safety.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) located along the White River receives wastewater from the City of Fishers Sanitary Sewer District. The Cheeney Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility is classified as a 10-million-gallons-a-day (MGD) facility. According to the US State and Community Energy Programs, “Wastewater operations are typically the largest energy expense in a community, and reductions in energy usage can yield significant environmental, economic, and social benefits for these communities. Electricity alone can constitute 25% to 40% of a wastewater treatment plant’s annual operating budget and make up 15% to 30% of a given municipality’s total energy bill.” The team will evaluate energy saving and alternative energy solutions for this property.
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Urban Stormwater Reduction Services

The Wabash River Enhancement Corporation (WREC) is a 501c3 nonprofit agency. WREC leads community efforts to develop long range plans to improve the riverfront, the river corridor, and water quality; and engages the community in the implementation of these improvements. WREC's mission is to enhance the quality of life in the Wabash River Corridor by creating sustainable opportunities to improve health, recreation, education, economic development, and environmental management.

WREC has been purchasing riverfront property for the past decade. We are approaching the point of building infrastructure and opening one specific piece of land to the public for hiking. This specific property is adjacent to both Purdue University property (Ross Biologic Reserve) and Tippecanoe County Parks Department property (Ross Hills Park). These adjacent properties are all along the Wabash Riverfront and are ideal for a trail connection through the various properties. The team along with the project WREC contact will meet with Ross Reserve and County Parks staff to initiate the discussion, map the best course for the future trail, and design any stream crossing structures while keeping streamflow and hiker use in mind.
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White River North Water Treatment Plant

Citizens Energy Group (Citizens) is a utility company serving the residents of Indianapolis and surrounding counties. Citizens supplies water, wastewater, natural gas, chilled water, and steam to more than 850,000 people. Citizens Westfield is a subsidiary of Citizens Energy Group and provides treated water to 11,000 customers in the Westfield area. The Westfield system is entirely served by 15 ground water wells and interconnections to the Citizens Water System.

Citizens Energy Group has elected to feed corrosion inhibitor into the water supply to meet United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) regulations related to the Lead and Copper Rule. Students will analyze collected data to determine the design basis for the chemical delivery system and use such data to design the corrosion inhibitor system layout at the White River North Water Treatment Plant.
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Worthington Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements

Wessler Engineering is a civil and environmental engineering firm based in Indianapolis that specializes in wastewater, drinking water and stormwater projects. The Town of Worthington owns a lagoon-style wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), consisting of influent flow metering, two (2) 4.25 MG aerated lagoon cells operated in series, chlorine gas disinfection and sulfur dioxide dechlorination, and effluent flow metering.

Over recent years, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has made effluent pollutant limits for WWTPs more stringent to protect stream quality. Lagoon microbiology often struggles to adequately treat ammonia in certain climates and over the past several years, the Worthington WWTP has struggled to meet its permitted effluent ammonia limit. In addition, the chlorine gas disinfection system has reached the end of its useful life and poses safety risks to operators. The objective of this project is to evaluate the existing Worthington WWTP and determine a feasible, reliable, and cost-effective solution to meet the current and future wastewater needs of the community.
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