Athens, OH 22 October 2016 –
As a senior, I decided to get involved in a few new student organizations within the Russ College of Engineering. One of these is the National WERC Competition, which challenges collegiate teams to develop viable solutions to real-world environmental/energy-related problems.
The competition has a few prompts to choose from, and teams can also choose to make their own project related to a current environmental problem. This year, our team of six chemical engineering students is creating a passive solar distillation process to treat acid mine drainage and turn it into clean water, while recovering the dried salts that remain. Our innovative design is entirely passive, using no electricity and requiring little to no human interaction.
Teams will not only plan how to carry out this process on a large scale, but they are also tasked with creating a bench scale model to represent how this process works on a small scale. In April, my teammates and I will spend a week in New Mexico, and go to New Mexico State University to present our design with our bench scale demonstration. Judges will grade the project based off numerous factors and give out awards to the top teams in each prompt category.
On the trip, students from OU also get to stop and do some sightseeing in New Mexico and Arizona, including hiking in the Grand Canyon. For more questions on about the WERC project, feel free to contact Dr. Ridgway.