CEE315: Engineering Sustainable Solutions for the Global Community

Description: This class explores engineering design projects with a global community focus. Throughout the semester, we learn about the challenges that the Global South faces, and how it differs from what the U.S. faces. For example, we learn about food and water security as it affects economically developing countries, and are encouraged to think critically about our roles as privileged citizens in the Global North in addressing the engineering problems that these countries face. In this class, I am working on a design for the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge, which is a global, multidisciplinary competition that encourages students to address global energy access challenges. For my team’s submission, we are working on a solar-powered vertical hydroponic farming system meant for household use in rural settings. The hope is that this system will be able to address food, water, and energy security challenges for households in countries that have limited food, water, and energy resources.

Relation to GC Focus: One component of the farming system that my team and I are designing is addressing water security in the agricultural sector. Traditional farming practices can use up large quantities of water, often losing most water resources to evaporation. For our farming system, water is circulated and reused throughout the system, and plants are watered using drip emitters, which makes efficient use of water resources. The design and prototype of this system can serve as a proof of concept design for addressing water security in the agriculture sector.

Supervisor/Instructor: Dr. David Schaad

Start Date: 1/5/2022

End Date: 4/30/2022

Total Hours: approx 4-5 hrs/week

A preliminary design of our team’s vertical hydroponic farming system. This design features solar panels on top of the farming system, and plants are grown in holes in the vertical towers. Water and nutrients are circulated by a pump throughout the system.