Athens, OH 5 April 2015 –
From March 29th to April 1st, nine OU ChBE students and two ChBE professors traveled to Las Cruces, NM to compete at the annual Waste-management Education Research Consortium (WERC) Environmental Design Contest organized by New Mexico State University.
This year, our four-person group was tasked with designing a small-scale wastewater treatment facility capable of reducing sulfate concentration in brackish water using electrocoagulation. Over the course of the academic year, our team worked to understand the theory behind electrocoagulation and researched various electrochemical cell designs to maximize sulfate removal.
Besides testing different designs, we also had to prepare an in-depth paper discussing our research, an oral presentation, and a bench-scale demonstration of the technology. The entire research process was a great learning experience, as was being able to discuss with other teams their approaches to solve the same problem.
In addition to competing in the competition, our group also went sightseeing! While in Las Cruces, we spent one evening at White Sands where we watched the sun set. We also jumped off and raced up some of the sand dunes.
Once the competition concluded, our group traveled to Flagstaff, AZ for the remainder of the week. While traveling, we visited the Petrified Forest. A group picture while at the Painted Desert is below.
The trip culminated with hiking the Grand Canyon. Three of us (including myself) hiked from the rim to the river and back in less than 7.5 hours!
The whole trip was a great experience, and if given the chance, I would do it again in a heartbeat.