Intel Award for UNH Team For Converting Manure to Electricity
By Debra JohnyBear, College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
May 23, 2007
Jessica Tokson, Shawn Dupont and Andrew Clements presenting their project
that successfully converts cow manure to electricity to a panel of judges.
Just ask any of the 34 different universities throughout the U.S., Canada,
and Mexico who participated in the 17th Annual International Environmental
Design Contest earlier this spring at New Mexico State University, and
they will tell you UNH students are the ones to beat. UNH students not
only won first place in their task, they won the prestigious overall Intel
“I am so proud of the students. This is the third time UNH has
brought home the Intel award, which is more than any other school,” said
faculty advisor Jenna Jambeck, who is research assistant professor in
UNH’s Environmental Research Group.
Twelve seniors competed in this year’s EDC. Andrew Clements (environmental
engineering major), Tiffany D’Amour (business), Lisa Damiano (environmental
engineering), Katherine Dietz (business), Shawn Dupont (business), Christopher
Getman (business), Steven Granese (civil engineering), Michael Olson (environmental
engineering), Jessica Tokson (environmental engineering), Bret Tolivaisa
(environmental engineering), Eduard Viel (environmental engineering) and
Amalia Wosiski-Kuhn (environmental engineering) tackled Task 4: Conversion
of Biomass Resource to Useful Forms of Energy and Other Products.
This year’s design challenges revolved around water, its viability
and availability and renewable energy sources.
Sponsored by the Waste Management Education and Research Consortium (WERC),
which includes several universities and national laboratories in New Mexico,
the annual contest involves tackling real-life problems provided by industry
The WERC EDC is the only contest in the world that provides a competitive
challenge and means of interaction for university and high school students
who are involved in environmental education.
With seven years of participation and two overall wins, the UNH team
has a strong history of performing well at this international competition.
While focusing on the conservation of energy and natural resources, WERC
team’s (MicroCellutions’ Inc.) goal was to provide farmers
with innovative solutions to waste management for the betterment of the
environment and the safety of the farmer.
As a responsible member of the global community, MicroCellutions, Inc.
is progressing renewable energy technologies by designing a single-chamber,
open-air microbial fuel cell (MOR-2007) that successfully converts cow
manure directly into electricity. The MOR-2007 is designed to reduce maintenance,
operational difficulty, energy requirements, odors, chemical oxygen demand
(COD), and phosphorus, while minimizing the impact of current manure management
practices on air and water quality. Residuals from MOR-2007 can be easily
composted to provide bedding or land applied to cropland providing essential
nutrients for plant uptake. This cyclical approach to nutrient management
on the farm minimizes costs for additional fertilizers and bedding materials.
MicroCellutions’ innovative technology and design, along with their
education of farmers about microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology through
public outreach, will provide dairy farmers with an alternative and sustainable
manure management system.
Lisa Damiano, an environmental engineering senior and honors program
student, said, “Participating in an interdisciplinary group with
students from business, civil engineering, and environmental engineering
was a valuable learning experience. While selecting a project we focused
on being innovative. We soon discovered that being innovative was much
harder than anticipated because along with learning about it, we had to
create our own technology before we could even start to build our project.
Although it was a lot of hard work, it was a fun project and well worth
it. I’m proud to be apart of it.”
Business major Kathy Dietz is also in the honors program. She said, “The
experience of working on the business plan for the environmental engineering
project and competing in New Mexico was a truly rewarding learning experience.
We had the opportunity to work with new and innovative technology and
create something that hasn't been done before. Working on a multidisciplinary
team of business students and engineering students, we had a chance to
gain insight into and overcome real life team obstacles and work together
towards creating the best solution not only for the task, but for the
environment and the consumer”
The College of Engineering and Physical Sciences integrated several disciplines
into this environmental engineering capstone senior design project. Students
in the interdisciplinary group represent the following majors: environmental
engineering-municipal processes, civil engineering, and business-entrepreneurial
venture creation (along with WSBE professor Jeff Sohl).
For more information, contact Jenna Jambeck at 2-4023, Jenna.Jambeck@unh.edu or www.werc.net.