2016 EEE Senior Design Projects

Water Reuse for the City of Lebanon

Water reuse is new to Indiana and currently there are only a few “reclaimed water” projects within the state. IDEM classifies reclaimed water as “pollutant bearing water” and does not have specific regulations governing water reuse.

The City of Lebanon is interested in providing reclaimed water from the City’s wastewater treatment plant to a new development area along Enterprise Blvd. The reclaimed water will be used for irrigation of the proposed golf course and other landscaping areas within the development. The consulting firm American Structurepoint, Inc. is the project sponsor and will be mentoring the senior design team during their design of a water reuse system for the city.

E-Waste Management in the Kayapo Indigenous Lands of the Brazilian Amazon

The disposal, reuse, and recycling of electronic waste (e-waste) created from discarded electronics will continue to be an environmental challenge for many generations in communities around the world. In Brazil e-waste has been identified as an issue and multiple methods of management, both formal and informal, have been developed over recent years; however, the environmental and health impacts of e-waste are an ongoing concern for many communities. In particular, rural communities where there is no access to municipal waste disposal options experience the impacts of e-waste more directly in their surrounding environment and communities. The Kayapó, one of several indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon, have utilized digital technologies and items such as motors, flashlights, solar panels, and other small personal electronics for several decades. Once these electronics reach their end-of-life they often are discarded into the surrounding environment, creating an accumulation of e-waste within the community.

Working with representatives from Conservation International and Kayapó NGO Associação Floresta Protegida (AFP), the senior design team will investigate alternatives and their impacts for managing e-waste within the Amazonian environment. Supporting this effort is a continued partnership with Anthropology departments at Purdue, Brazilian Federal University of Uberlândia, and the Kayapó community of Aukre. The team must maintain stewardship of these on-going community and university partnerships and include community perspectives and their values in the design process.

Southport AWTP: Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Improvements

Citizens Energy Group’s Southport Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant (Southport AWTP) went through a capacity expansion to fulfill treatment capacity as committed in the Long Term Control Plan Consent Decree.  The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit regulates different wastewater constituent discharge concentration limits and seasonal limits of different parameters have been established for decades.

With intense heat during the summer months, the higher temperature of wastewater leads to a lower DO saturation concentration, presenting a challenge to meet effluent DO concentrations required by the NPDES permit. The senior design team will examine the field DO concentrations at the Southport AWTP; evaluate the hydraulic characteristics that influence DO, investigate measures to increase DO throughout the treatment processes; and identify potential cost effective improvements.

Enhancing T.W. Moses Treatment Plant Efficiency

Citizens Energy Group’s T.W. Moses Treatment Plant was constructed in the late 1970’s to purify raw source water taken from the Eagle Creek Reservoir and distribute it to the northwest side of Indianapolis.  Due to growth in the area and changes in EPA regulations since the original construction, there have been many process modifications.

With the modifications to the existing equipment and additions of new equipment, the electrical usage and cost to treat water at the T.W. Moses Treatment Plant have increased.  The goals of this project are to complete an energy efficiency audit, develop recommendations to improve the energy efficiency, and determine the rate of return for any recommended capital investments.

Lifecycle Analysis of a Cummins Turbocharger

According to the ISO standard 14044, a Life Cycle Assessment is a compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs, and the potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle. A full product life cycle perspective addresses energy and material flows, processes used to produce materials and realize products, and the management of end-of-life products.

Cummins Inc, a global diesel engine and component manufacturer, is in the process of conducting LCAs on its major products to understand the impact of manufacturing on the environment. The turbocharger is a device fitted to engines in order to increase efficiency and power, which subsequently reduces fuel consumption and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.  The student team will be conducting a lifecycle assessment on the energy, water, and emissions of materials used to manufacture a turbocharger.

Energy Efficiency: Analysis of Industrial Facility Improvements

Manufacturing facilities are large consumers of energy that undergo dynamic changes through the years. As the facility ages, new technologies replace older technologies that were less efficient. The General Motors Fort Wayne Assembly plant is undergoing the largest modernization overhaul since the plant was built in the 1980s. This overhaul includes many energy efficiency upgrades, renewable energy generation, and metering points to track energy use for management and sustainability goals. GM has a goal to increase use of renewable energy while reducing energy intensity by 20% by 2020.

The client has the overall goal of minimizing energy costs without disrupting any manufacturing operations. The most urgent short-term objective is to analyze business opportunities to reduce energy consumption with the overarching goal to eliminate the need for steam. The original steam plant was designed to meet much larger loads. Steam demand will continue to decrease as new operations come on-line in the future. The students will be assessing how the steam load can be eliminated or replaced with much smaller boiler operations going forward.

Biodegradation of Disposable Food Containers for Festivals

The growth of single-use food packaging can be traced to the emergence of fast-food restaurants in the 1950s.  Today about 47% of municipal solid waste is comprised of plastic, glass, metals and paper products.  A significant fraction of this waste are food packages, some of which emanated from “to-go” food. Both food vendors and customers have strict performance and safety expectations of “to-go” food containers.  There are numerous biodegradable or compostable single-use food container products available.  However, these products have not been widely adopted and whether they decompose adequately is not well understood.  In addition, at special events such as summer festivals or football games the short time span of the event and the transient behavior of the participants creates unique challenges and opportunities for solid waste management.

The senior design team will work with the West Lafayette Go Greener Commission and local food vendors to identify an event scenario and one type of single-use food container product (e.g. entrée clamshell, cup, wrapper). They will then investigate the food vendor-to-digester life-cycle and make recommendations for a product and logistics system to complete the waste collection to energy recovery process that meets the users’ needs.

Alternative Fueled Vehicle Review

Based on government reports, 28% of the total energy consumption of the United States is consumed in the transportation sector to move people and goods. With sustainability, carbon neutrality, and climate change appearing in the media on a regular basis, new transportation technologies are becoming more cost effective and energy efficient.

Often overlooked within an institutional environment are the vehicle fleets used to provide daily service to the campus community. Purdue Energy and Utilities is aligned with the Purdue University goal of student affordability and we are always looking into opportunities to reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies. This project is one example in which Energy and Utilities employ or partner with students, student interns, and professors on projects to evaluate our options. Part of those operational efficiencies may be gained from changing the existing fleet of conventionally fueled vehicles to electric or natural gas vehicles. The senior design team will create an analysis of cost and use of two automobiles that are four door, four person passenger vehicles and evaluate the options that may exist with alternatively fueled vehicles.

Fluoridation of Drinking Water at Purdue University

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) includes fluoridation of drinking water among the Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the United States during the last century. Fluoride in drinking water is known to offer significant beneficial health effects in people because it very effectively reduces tooth decay at low concentrations in drinking water.  However, excessive exposure to fluoride - usually caused by naturally elevated background levels in some groundwater around the world - can give rise to a number of serious adverse health effects.  Purdue University fluoridates drinking water distributed on campus. In concentrated bulk form, fluoride is dangerous and poses an occupational hazard to personnel operating water fluoridation equipment.

The senior design team will create a comprehensive synthesis of information that includes: an assessment of the opinions and knowledge of members of the Purdue community about fluoridation of drinking water; an assessment of local health professional’s (e.g. dentists) opinions about Purdue University’s fluoridation practices; an analysis of available information about fluoride sources other than distributed fluoridated water (e.g. toothpaste, bottled water); an assessment of the efficacy of Purdue’s fluoridation program considering the time spent on campus, and the water drinking habits of the different members of the Purdue community; and a risk-benefit analysis of Purdue’s fluoridation program.

Lower Rouge River Old Channel-A Great Lakes Legacy Project

Historical industrial and urban activity along the Lower Rouge River Old Channel (LRROC) since the 1880s contaminated the LRROC river sediments with metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, and tars.  In 1985 the International Joint Commission designated the LRROC as a Great Lakes Area of Concern.

In 2010 operating under the Great Lakes Legacy Act (GLLA), a cooperative agreement between the United States Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes National Program Office and responsible parties was signed.  The cooperative agreement includes completion of a Remedial Investigation and a Feasibility Study leading to remediation and habitat restoration that will meet the Remedial Action Objectives (RAOs) for the LRROC.  The objective of the Purdue Senior Design Team project is to determine feasible remediation and habitat restoration alternatives with a recommendation to the project sponsor, Ramboll Environ, on how to meet the site RAOs.