CBE Senior Design 2022

Team 113: AIChE Chem-E-Car Competition

Global warming has a significant long-term negative effect on the environment and earth’s atmosphere due to the CO2 emissions from various human-developed sources. Global warming is an overarching problem humanity must overcome and it begins with finding alternatives for transportation and power generation rather than utilizing fossil fuels.

In 1999, AIChE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers) introduced efforts towards producing technologies and processes that are more environmentally friendly by starting an annual student chemical engineering competition, the AIChE Chem-E-Car Competition. This competition revolves around building a small-scale (shoebox-size) car that is powered by energy produced by a chemical reaction. A chemical reaction must also be used to stop the vehicle after it has traveled a specified distance. Students compete with teams from other universities in guiding their car to a certain distance while carrying a load with a specified weight. The distance the car must travel and the weight it must carry are not revealed until the day of the competition. Operation of the car is controlled by varying the concentrations and volumes of the reactants.

The car must be capable of driving 15-30 meters in less than two minutes while carrying a load of up to 500 mL of water.

To achieve this goal, we utilized 12 thermal electric generators (TEGs), which use a temperature differential to generate the current and voltage to power the car. To create this temperature differential, an acid base reaction of NaOH and HCl generates heat in a “hot reactor,” while a “cold reactor” is filled with an isopropyl alcohol dry ice bath. The TEGs are sandwiched between the reactors and wired to produce the necessary current and voltage requirements.

For the stopping mechanism, we used an iodine clock reaction, using hydrogen peroxide, potassium iodine, hydrochloric acid, sodium thiosulfate, and starch. The reaction has two steps: the first step generates iodine molecules, and the second step consumes the iodine very quickly. After the second step reaches completion, the iodine molecules are free to form a complex with the starch; this turns the solution a very dark blue/black color. The time before color change can be altered by varying the amount of thiosulfate. The color change is monitored by a photosensor which relays the information to an onboard Arduino control board which triggers the car to stop after the solution turns dark. The time of the iodine clock reaction is calculated based on the specified weight and distance the car must travel.  We use an equation to predict the required volume of thiosulfate to the time it takes to reach the specified distance based on the speed the car travels with various loads.

Team (L to R):

Front row: Warrick Smart, ChE, Allison Fox, ChE, Alfredo Cepero, ChE, Tyla Seelye, ChE, John Jennings, ChE. Back row: Carlos Ray, ChE, Victoria Horton, ChE, Aubrey Malowany, ChE, Sandra Faragalla, BME, Antionne Byrd, BME

Advisor(s):

Robert Wandell, Ph.D.

Team 101: Modular Distributed Gas-to-Liquid Methane Conversion

By 2050, energy demand worldwide is forecasted to increase by 50%. To sustain this growth, it will be crucial to invest in new sources of energy and to maximize the efficiency of existing energy sources such as fossil fuels. The ongoing challenge of climate change has emphasized the need for advancements in technologies and production methods in industry applications to eliminate or significantly reduced carbon emission.

Handling natural methane gas from stranded oil production is currently a prevalent climate issue worldwide. This stranded methane gas cannot be economically collected or stored due to its remote location. Therefore, large manufacturing sites are forced to burn the produced methane gas through on-site flares. Flaring is the process of initiating a controlled burn at an oil well head to combust the methane into CO2. Estimates report that approximately 30% of associated natural gas is flared for disposal, which equates to 111,000 metric tons of generated carbon dioxide per year.

A potential solution to this problem is to convert the natural gas to liquid petroleum products that can be easily stored on site and later transported. One method to achieve this is through the “Fischer-Tropsch process.” The process generates long chain liquid hydrocarbons such as propane, gasoline and diesel, as well as other products from carbon monoxide and hydrogen (syngas). A water gas shift reaction can be used to generate hydrogen from the methane feedstock.

The objective of this Chemical Engineering Senior Design Project is to design a profitable process of converting natural gas into liquid petroleum products utilizing modular manufacturing techniques. Modular manufacturing is the process of creating small-scale infrastructure that can be assembled and installed directly at the well head with a numbering-up approach to suit production capacity.  This allows economy of scale. Ideally, these modular GTL units can be manufactured off site then transported and assembled at well heads. They can then be redeployed to alternative sites as production capacity decreases, to optimize the overall profitability of the modules.

Team (L to R):

Warrick Smart, Allison Fox, Zachary Bauer, Anne Schloss & Aubrey (Belk) Malowany

Advisor(s):

Robert Wandell, Ph.D.

Team 102: Modular Distributed Gas-to-Liquid Methane Conversion

By 2050, energy demand worldwide is forecasted to increase by 50%. To sustain this growth, it will be crucial to invest in new sources of energy and to maximize the efficiency of existing energy sources such as fossil fuels. The ongoing challenge of climate change has emphasized the need for advancements in technologies and production methods in industry applications to eliminate or significantly reduced carbon emission.

Handling natural methane gas from stranded oil production is currently a prevalent climate issue worldwide. This stranded methane gas cannot be economically collected or stored due to its remote location. Therefore, large manufacturing sites are forced to burn the produced methane gas through on-site flares. Flaring is the process of initiating a controlled burn at an oil well head to combust the methane into CO2. Estimates report that approximately 30% of associated natural gas is flared for disposal, which equates to 111,000 metric tons of generated carbon dioxide per year.

A potential solution to this problem is to convert the natural gas to liquid petroleum products that can be easily stored on site and later transported. One method to achieve this is through the “Fischer-Tropsch process.” The process generates long chain liquid hydrocarbons such as propane, gasoline and diesel, as well as other products from carbon monoxide and hydrogen (syngas). A water gas shift reaction can be used to generate hydrogen from the methane feedstock.

The objective of this Chemical Engineering Senior Design Project is to design a profitable process of converting natural gas into liquid petroleum products utilizing modular manufacturing techniques. Modular manufacturing is the process of creating small-scale infrastructure that can be assembled and installed directly at the well head with a numbering-up approach to suit production capacity.  This allows economy of scale. Ideally, these modular GTL units can be manufactured off site then transported and assembled at well heads. They can then be redeployed to alternative sites as production capacity decreases, to optimize the overall profitability of the modules.

Team (L to R):

Diego Bustamaante, Luciana Castro, Andrea Gonzales & Maria Gonzales

Advisor(s):

Robert Wandell, Ph.D.

Team 114: KiDDs-Tech

We designed a digital assistive technology for use in speech/language treatment to improve the quality of care for anyone suffering from speech/language disorders. These software tools will serve as an aid for speech therapy treatment and evaluation.

The applications, developed using Python and Unity, are programmed into a portable and handheld Raspberry Pi 4. The first application is an automated data collection system to assist speech language pathologists (SLP) during the evaluation process. The application facilitates the process and allows the SLP to keep their attention on the patient rather than having to look away to write them down on paper, potentially missing important non-verbal cues.

The second application, WordQuest, is an interactive level-based game that serves as a form of speech therapy treatment by encouraging the patient to practice proper sentence structure and language skills. With its engaging visuals and challenges, patients navigate the seas and battle using the power of language.

For this project we partnered with KiDDs, an interdisciplinary training program designed to prepare graduate students for work with children with developmental disabilities and culturally diverse backgrounds.

Team (L to R):

Carlos Gonzalez, Nicholas DiRoberto, Antionne Byrd, Mary Jean Savitsky & Katelyn Beharry

Advisor(s):

Stephen Arce, Ph.D. & Carla Wood, Ph.D.

Team 112: Modular Distributed Gas-to-Liquid Methane Conversion

By 2050, energy demand worldwide is forecasted to increase by 50%. To sustain this growth, it will be crucial to invest in new sources of energy and to maximize the efficiency of existing energy sources such as fossil fuels. The ongoing challenge of climate change has emphasized the need for advancements in technologies and production methods in industry applications to eliminate or significantly reduced carbon emission.

Handling natural methane gas from stranded oil production is currently a prevalent climate issue worldwide. This stranded methane gas cannot be economically collected or stored due to its remote location. Therefore, large manufacturing sites are forced to burn the produced methane gas through on-site flares. Flaring is the process of initiating a controlled burn at an oil well head to combust the methane into CO2. Estimates report that approximately 30% of associated natural gas is flared for disposal, which equates to 111,000 metric tons of generated carbon dioxide per year.

A potential solution to this problem is to convert the natural gas to liquid petroleum products that can be easily stored on site and later transported. One method to achieve this is through the “Fischer-Tropsch process.” The process generates long chain liquid hydrocarbons such as propane, gasoline and diesel, as well as other products from carbon monoxide and hydrogen (syngas). A water gas shift reaction can be used to generate hydrogen from the methane feedstock.

The objective of this Chemical Engineering Senior Design Project is to design a profitable process of converting natural gas into liquid petroleum products utilizing modular manufacturing techniques. Modular manufacturing is the process of creating small-scale infrastructure that can be assembled and installed directly at the well head with a numbering-up approach to suit production capacity.  This allows economy of scale. Ideally, these modular GTL units can be manufactured off site then transported and assembled at well heads. They can then be redeployed to alternative sites as production capacity decreases, to optimize the overall profitability of the modules.

Team (L to R):

Wendy Juzwiak, Akilah Sanders, Valerie Belance & John Jennings

Advisor(s):

Robert Wandell, Ph.D.