Reformulation of Automotive Thermoplastic
In collaboration with Ford Motor Company, our project aims to improve vehicle fuel economy by reformulating the existing talc-based thermoplastic to a lighter weight cellulose-based thermoplastic. Formulations with varying ratios of Eucalyptus cellulose, polypropylene, copolymer and compatibilizer will be synthesized and mechanically tested to understand the resulting effect on the material’s macroscopic properties. The goal is to achieve a product that has an overall density reduction of 10% while meeting the structural requirements for the intended automotive application.
Team members: Youn Hwan Kim, Victor Chan, Dongmin Kim and Zheng Rao
Optimization of Thermoplastic Polyurethane in Automotive Applications
At Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC), faux leather dashboard skins are fabricated from a rotational molding process using polyurethane resin. This project aims to reduce the number of defective skins produced, by correlating key polyurethane properties with current processing parameters. Experimental trials will be conducted to evaluate critical properties of the polyurethane resin, including melting and surface texture properties. Ultimately, process optimizations will provide economic benefits, improvements in product quality, and minimize overall waste.
Team members: Curtis Seto, Zhengguang Chen, Zhenhuan Huang and Andrew Wong
Scale-up of Biofilter Technology for VOC Abatement
Industrial bakeries have historically used catalytic oxidation to remove volatile organic compounds (VOC), primarily ethanol, from foul process air. However, catalytic oxidation can be costly due to high operating temperatures and catalyst fouling. Biofiltration is an affordable and sustainable technology that utilizes living organisms to degrade VOC. Our project utilizes a pilot-scale biofilter to measure performance in the treatment of ethanol, from which an industrial-scale biofilter is designed. This design will be compared to conventional methods to assess its feasibility as a low cost alternative.
Team members: James Lee, Ian McKenna, Arthur Lam, and Pratik Gandhi
Optimization of a Chocolate Production Line
Optimizing food production processes are often complex and reducing the amount of scrap product is one of the greatest challenges in process optimization. Scrap product stems from processing or packaging issues, resulting in wasted resources and profits. This project aims to identify the main source of scrap on a specific chocolate production line through Design of Experiment principles and other statistical analysis techniques. A feasibility analysis will be completed involving economic and environmental studies, and optimal operating parameters will be provided as recommendations.
Team members: Cameron Hackett, Sophia Lau, Katerina Li and Jason Tran
Sustainable Cottage Design
With rising energy costs, Canadians are more inclined to consider alternative renewable energy technologies. The objective of this project is to develop an optimized system of renewable energy sources to allow an existing cottage in Ontario to support its own activities with reduced dependence on the grid. Solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal sources of energy were considered. The proposed optimized system is supported by energy, economic, and environmental analysis, which considers regulations, energy consumption in the cottage, and site conditions.
Team members: Jessica Ip, Gayathri Valappil, Dyan Estavillo and Maha Vekar
Optimization and Design of an Automotive Manufacturer’s Energy System Using Power-to-Gas Technology
The world is moving towards a more sustainable, carbon free economy, but renewables don’t come without their fair share of technical problems. As our province continues to follow suit, intermittency causes the curtailment and exportation of Terawatts of energy, with the financial burden falling to the people. An immediate solution exists and that’s Power-to-Gas energy storage, a method for balancing grid supply and demand. Our group will show how profitable business cases already exist for this technology and that safe, effective implementation can begin today.
Team members: Nick Preston, Alex McGowan, and Jesse Hildebrand
Removal of Zinc from Mining Effluent Using Capacitive Deionization
The mining industry is a known culprit for releasing zinc into waterways, hence the introduction of government regulations that limit their concentrations in effluent water. We have designed, modelled, and prototyped a capacitor system for the removal of zinc from wastewater through the principles of capacitive deionization to address this problem. Through lab trials and Matlab simulations, the feasibility and economic viability of this technique has been assessed. Compared to traditional methods, electrochemical treatment is faster, more efficient at low concentrations, and produces less sludge.
Team members: Wei-Cheng (Steven) Chen, Saraneya Maheswaran, Madeline Amszej, and Tanvi Arora
Synthetic Processing of Coffee Beans
Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world and is produced by passing through the digestive system of a civet cat. This project aims to design an artificial process in a bioreactor to emulate the animal’s digestive system and will result in coffee with a more favourable chemical composition. Objectives include measuring chemical composition change with FTIR spectroscopy and a cost benefit analysis.
Team members: Komal Bokhari, Amanda Soendoro, Eugenia Chan and Urjita Davada
Model Creation & Validation of a Pulp & Paper Oven Process with Convection & Heat Exchange
This project will optimize the drying process and reduce greenhouse gas emissions of an international pulp and paper company. Through site visits, analysis of historical data, and mass transfer principles, an interactive model of the drying process has been built which has allowed the creation of a validation plan using factorial design. Using the model, optimized operating conditions will be identified that will increase process efficiency, reduce cost, and minimize carbon emissions.
Team members: Lauren MacDonald, Patricia Duong, Rachel Malevich and Chelsea VanderMeer
Upgrading Co-generated Biogas at Wastewater Treatment Facilities to Renewable Natural Gas
Currently in Ontario, biogas produced from anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment facilities is often flared into the atmosphere. This project aims to design and optimize a process for upgrading the biogas generated at the Galt Wastewater Treatment Plant in Cambridge, Ontario to meet renewable natural gas specifications for injection into the natural gas pipeline network. Furthermore, the design will take into account the potential capability of the system to digest organic solid waste in addition to the wastewater sludge currently being digested.
Team members: Emma Szalai, Elizabeth Maggs and Michelle Wright
Mechanical Model for Keratoconus
Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes thinning and protrusions in the cornea, which in extreme cases can result in vision loss. Three major factors have been identified in its formation - mechanical stimulus, biochemical factors and genetic disposition. To aid the study of the pathogenesis of this disease, our group will be designing and constructing a cell stretching device. It is an improvement on current designs which are large and not economically viable for smaller laboratories.
Team members: Moyosoluwa Akinbola, Shimona Esmail, Uchenna Mbanefo and Taniya Sebastiampillai
IV SOS: Development of an Onsite IV Fluid Generation System
Saline is on World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines and is required for most hospital patients. However, despite its simple composition and importance, there have been regular periods saline shortage and price inflations worldwide. The goal for this project is to develop an onsite IV fluid generation system that can produce IV saline solutions reliably and at low cost. Process modelling and simulation techniques were employed to produce a conceptual design and cost estimates. Ultimately, this system could significantly impact global access to saline.
Team members: Min Kwak, Sabrina Mattiassi and Kelly Zheng
Synfuels: Process Design of Synthetic Fuel from Landfill Gas
This project looks to capture and refine gases emitted from landfills heavily laden with GHGs - carbon dioxide and methane, increase their methane content within catalytic membrane reactors and inject the product into Ontario's natural gas grid as a synthetic fuel. A simulation of the plant will be constructed to depict the process flow of the design and illustrate optimal self-sustainability and minimal environmental impact. The process is a prospective solution to the growing quantity of GHGs in the atmosphere due to fossil fuel mining.
Team members: Paul Kaija, Kirandeep Sahmbi, Vicky Van Nguyen, Jade Alexander, Vusal Ibrahimli
Optimization of Polyurethane Monofoam Production
In the automotive industry, highly engineered polymeric materials such as polyurethane are used for improved structural integrity, comfort, and safety in vehicles. This capstone project aims to determine the optimal operating conditions for producing polyurethane foam used as insulation in a vehicle’s instrument panel. Areas of focus include: identifying the ideal reagent quantities and temperatures for polyurethane foam production, investigating the impact of bio-based reagents on foam production, and quantifying any potential cost savings as well as examining the environmental impact.
Team members: Thuraya Sabri, Vasisht Chari, Ahmad Bilal, Adam Ghazal and Simran Kakodkar
Eco-Design of Solar Panels
Each year, hazardous waste is generated due to damaged solar panels being replaced. The presence of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA), an adhesive that binds together solar panel layers and prevents water damage, makes repairing solar panels very difficult. Our group aims to re-design the conventional solar panel to reduce the use of EVA and allow the solar panel to be easily repaired or replaced. The eco-design is modelled in SolidWorks and tested using Finite Element Analysis to ensure the correct mechanical and thermal properties exist.
Team members: Guang Hui Lian, Tianrui Wu, Catherine Roy, Trisha Saar
OleoTech: Recycled Polymer Sorbent Technology for Removing Hydrocarbons from Runoff Water
Cassidy Molloy, Zeinab Sidahmed, Sinclair Hidajat, Gene Shim and Timothy Yeung (not pictured)
Hydrocarbons such as oil and diesel leak from vehicles onto pavement, washing into stormwater drains through runoff water. Existing removal technologies are complex and expensive, causing hydrocarbons to accumulate in water bodies which negatively impacts the surrounding environment. Our solution is to design a sorbent to remove hydrocarbons using recycled tire polymer with oleophilic properties. These sorbents can then be integrated into existing stormwater management systems. Our approach is to design various sorbent configurations and evaluate their performance in a lab-scale catch basin.
Solar Energy Driven Desalination of Water
In 2017, the Government of Canada identified over 40% of the global population lacking access to potable water. This project aims to combat this with a low-cost water purification device driven by solar energy. Upon completion of this project, there will be a functional model that validates and identifies the limitations of a traditional solar distillation device. This will be developed through data acquisition from a to-scale prototype. Recommendations will also be offered to further optimize this device based on findings from the mathematical model.
Team members: Agata Jarkiewicz, Dale Bartnik and Jessica Haime
Feasibility of Cultivating Agricultural Microalgae on Mars
We aim to conduct a feasibility study on how we can cultivate agricultural microalgae on Mars. Microalgae can grow quickly in comparison to plants and animals. It is the perfect candidate for being the primary organism at the bottom of the trophic pyramid on Mars - where there is currently no arable land.
Team members: Annas Khan, Max O’Neal, John Drouin, Seungwook Min, Mohammad Tau Hussain
Development of a ChE 490/491 Bioprocessing Lab
The purpose of our project is to design a hands-on, well scoped bioprocessing lab, involving the preparation and growth of yeast cells and separation of the fermentation products for fourth year ChE undergraduate students. This will be done by developing a baseline of experimental results and evaluating volunteer experience of the developed lab via survey responses. This project will allow future ChE 490/491 students to gain hands-on experience related to bioprocessing; thus, giving students an idea of future academic and industry applications of its technologies.
Team members: Natalia Koylass, Hazel Babu, Ayah Mahmoud and Jing Yi (Joanna) Liu
Electrochemical Desalination of Seawater using Intercalation
Due to predicted future water scarcity, alternative sources of water such as seawater desalination must be explored. Intercalation is an emerging battery technology that can be used to reduce sodium chloride concentration in seawater. The project’s objective is to design a desalination unit that uses an intercalation battery, and optimize the costs, energy consumption, and physical size of the unit for use in a plant. The optimized design will be compared to an existing reverse osmosis plant to assess feasibility.
Team members: Jordan Alves, Avleen Sahi and Michael Sousa
Pilot Plants for Hydroponic Nutrient Optimization
Hydroponic gardening is a potential solution for growing in climates with poor soil or insufficient space for a regular greenhouse. This project seeks to investigate the effects and interactions of hydroponic growth variables including nutrient salts, lighting, and aeration. These experiments can be accomplished with a 9-container hydroponic pilot plant with lettuce as a control. A controlled design allows the use of mass and energy balances to estimate nutrient or energy uptake in lettuce.
Team members: Rawle Groothuizen, Melissa Buckley, Michael Beauchemin and Natalie Ehlers
Design of Optimized Power-to-Gas Energy System for Ontario
Ontario lacks an internal market for surplus electricity generation, inevitably caused by the mismatch of supply and demand. This results in economic loss and energy wastage. Our project proposes a Power-to-Gas energy hub, which converts the surplus generation into hydrogen. The hydrogen is then sent to four sectors: fuel cell vehicles, industry feed, RNG generation, and HENG generation. Our objective is to find the cost-optimal energy hub design, while achieving at least 50% maximum carbon emission reduction.
Team members: Lingyi Gu, Joohyung Ko and Jeeyoung Kim
California River Water Desalination with Energy Production
The proposed Antioch Brackish Water Desalination Project in California will use reverse osmosis (RO) to desalinate low salinity water from the San Joaquin river. Recent studies have shown that capacitive deionization (CDI) is more energy efficient than RO at desalinating low salinity or brackish waters. This project investigates the economic and practical feasibility of using CDI instead of RO for the proposed water desalination project. Our group also coupled CDI with Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO) for the production of energy from the wasted brine.
Team members:Young Kim, Owen Barrigar and Mike McKague
Biopolymer Production from Wastewater Biogas
Wastewater biogas, composed mainly of methane, has been traditionally considered as a waste stream. It has been shown, however, that untreated biogas can be used as a feedstock for bacterial fermentation and the production of a PHA biopolymer. This project aims to analyze the economic feasibility of implementing a biopolymer production process at the Galt Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Region of Waterloo. The process design involves the simulation of the PHA biopolymer synthesis and separation, followed by an economic analysis.
Team members: Nicholas Sawatzky, Sarah Fletcher and Peter Keillor
Selection Tool for Waste Heat to Power Technology in Glass Manufacturing
Float glass manufacturing is a very energy intensive process, with 75% of the inputted energy lost as waste heat. This project will focus on implementing a proven technology called the Organic Rankine Cycle, to convert waste heat from the furnace into usable electrical energy. The objective of the project is to increase this technology’s adoption by designing a selection tool, given data from a glass manufacturing plant that determines optimal parameters for equipment sizes, working fluids, and cycle configurations to achieve the lowest payback period.
Team members: Raniel Chan, Nathan Lee, Jordan Killen, Christian Sicilia
Comparison between Valve and Membrane Technology in Coffee Flavour Preservation
The goal of the project is to conduct a comprehensive comparison between valve and membrane technology coffee packaging. The motivation for membrane technology in coffee packaging is to improve the reliability of the packaging and taste quality of coffee. The project focuses on a comparison of technologies using simulation results of the release profile of carbon dioxide and flavour components from coffee beans. Early results show that carbon dioxide is able to permeate through the membrane while the flavour components are unable to.
Team members: Yusuf Ali, Mark Groen, Aaron Reid and Harjodh Singh
Auto-dosing system for hydroponic farming
Hydroponics is a plant cultivation technique that doesn’t use soil. Hydroponic growth systems are more efficient since they use fewer resources such as land and water. This project is focused on designing and developing an auto-dosing system for Nanoleaf’s hydroponic product. Nanoleaf is a Toronto-based start-up company that focuses on sustainable and aesthetic products. The goal is to make a prototype utilizing an Arduino microcontroller such that the prototype can provide custom nutrient feed and monitor the nutrients fed to individual plants in the system.
Team members: Muhammad Faisal Aziz, Tarandeep Panesar, Suhail Dayani, Maaz Shanjer
Polypropylene Regrind Optimization
Automotive industries produce a percentage of scrap parts that are currently not reintroduced into process due to quality specifications. The bumper manufacturing process at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) produces bumpers from virgin polypropylene material. This project investigates the introduction of recycled polypropylene material into TMMC’s bumper process which can abate economic costs and impacts to the environment associated with material delivery. The polymer properties of the recycled material are studied at varying blended ratios to determine feasibility for injection molding and paint-ability.
Team members: Glen Gong, Natalie Wong, Doyun Kim and Solgang Im
Conversion of Waste Cotton Textiles to Ethanol
Every year, millions of tons of textiles from commercial and residential sources are sent to landfills as waste, only a fraction of which are recycled into new textiles. This project aims to design a process to convert cotton textiles into ethanol with the assistance of ionic liquids. Experiments were conducted to determine key process performance parameters, which were incorporated into an ASPEN Plus process model. Results from the model were used to cost major equipment and conduct an economic feasibility study.
Team members: Curtis Ewanchuk, Nicholas Quan, Saif Rahman, Jinwoo Hahm and Emily Lo
Improving the Manufacturing Process for Biocompatible Vascular Grafts
Vascular grafts are artificial blood vessels used to surgically redirect blood flow around damaged arteries and veins. Dr. Yim’s group has developed a novel, biocompatible material for use in small diameter vascular grafts. The current lab-scale manufacturing method is laborious, time-intensive, and suffers from inconsistencies in graft quality. The project’s goal is to develop and optimize a manufacturing apparatus and procedure to reduce variance in graft quality, labour requirement, and lead time. The apparatus and procedure will be validated through replicate testing of graft characteristics.
Team members: Tim Wu, Sarah Taylor, Sucharita Vijayaraghavan, Rebecca Danelon
Redesign of a Pilot Packed Column for Gas Absorption
Our project is to redesign a pilot packed absorption column for the chemical engineering undergraduate students. The redesign of this column will not only improve the accuracy of the data collected, but is more efficient by allowing students to focus on conceptual learning rather than routine equipment operation. A DAQ board, DP transducer, and 2 flow control valves were installed to the previous set up. Instrumentation control is programmed through LabVIEW.
Team members: Lin Song, Wei Yu Liu, Shi Rui Chua, Yunsheng Jiang
Simulation and Optimization of Co-generation Plant
Natural-gas usage in power plants is increasing on a global scale, making it important to find ways to improve its efficiency. Co-generation power plants are one method of increasing the efficiency by recovering and using the waste-heat generated from combustion. Our project aims to minimize the operating and environmental costs of our client’s cogeneration plant even further by changing feedstock and operating conditions. A simulation in Aspen will be created and linked to an optimization software in order to find the optimal conditions.
Team members: Daniel Harrold and Paris (Caiyin) Li
Methane Sensor Development
Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. A large portion of Canada’s methane emissions result from leaks in natural gas pipelines. The Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo has developed an ultra-sensitive methane sensor intended to improve leak detection, thereby reducing emissions. The focus of the project is to create an accurate model of methane leakage from a pipeline and use this model to design a shroud which will house these newly-developed sensors.
Team members: Tarundeep Bola, Andre DaCosta, Edric Lin and Gagandeep Phull
Design of Phase Change Material Energy Storage for Solar Cooking Applications
Over 500 million people - the majority of them women and children - are suffering from respiratory illnesses such as COPD, from burning non-clean, solid fuels. The goal of this project is to create clean energy storage solutions for cooking. Our group has designed and developed a solar cooker with an energy storage module allowing families to safely cook during cloudy days and at night. Lab testing of materials, fabrication of a prototype, COMSOL theoretical modelling, and business development will be done to validate the project.
Team members: Shawn Stankevitsch, Jonathan Lepine, Nabil Chowdhury, and Elaine Zhang
Smart photo-responsive Blinds for Green Building Design
In an average Canadian home, 62% of total energy consumption is associated with space heating due to cold climates. To reduce the space heating energy, a design of smart photo-responsive blinds utilizing liquid crystal polymer networks as an actuator material is presented. The effectiveness of the design is verified through simulation tools, setting basis for further development and refinement of the design. The final design will allow for 5% energy saving in space heating through maximizing passive solar heating by dynamically responding to solar radiation.
Team members: Kyutae Kim, Soung-Jae Bong, Osman Qatar