Ohio University/WERC

 

 

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Ohio University/WERC Web Site

2010 population:  2,059,179

 

Every April since 1999 (with the exception of 2007), Ohio University's Russ College of Engineering and Technology has sent teams of students and faculty to the Waste-management Education Research Consortium (WERC) Design Contest held on the campus of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and this tradition continues into 2010 for the eleventh time in twelve years.  This website chronicles those activities.  Specifically, the links below lead to pages describing the activities of the Ohio University teams in each of these years.
 
These are journeys of education, exploration, growth, and adventure.  They are also a journeys of sand, caves, golf, frozen custard, mountain climbing, ghost towns, Grand Canyon hiking, UFOs, gunfights at the O.K. Corral, visiting Mexico and then trying to get back into the U.S., and beer tasting at a brewpub with a slogan for the ages:  "None of Our Beers Suck."
 
 
1999
In this first year, 15 students participated, and these included 13 chemical engineering majors, one civil engineering major, and one electrical engineering graduate student.  They were led by Civil and Chemical Engineering faculty member Ben Stuart.

Three tasks were entered by OU teams this year.  Task 1 involved finding ways to stabilize mine tailings, Task 3 involved coming up with ways to cover landfills effectively, and Task 4's job was to find a method to reduce transuranic wastes, which are produced during the research on and production of nuclear weapons.

 
 
2000
This year 23 students participated, and these included 20 chemical engineering majors, two civil engineering majors, and one electrical engineering graduate student. Three faculty participated, and they were Ben Stuart of Civil and Chemical Engineering and Darin Ridgway and Dan Gulino of Chemical Engineering.

In only their second year of participation, Ohio University teams came home with three awards. The Task 6 team won second place for its task, which was to propose a method of detecting salmonella on fruits and vegetables. The award consisted of a trophy and a check (to the school) for $1500. The Task 8 team won an award for the "most innovative approach." Their task was to propose a method for cleaning acidic drainage from mines. This award consisted of a check for $500. Finally, Ben Stuart, lead faculty advisor to the 2000 Ohio University WERC team, won the Mike Berger award, which is given to the outstanding faculty advisor as nominated by his or her students. The award consisted of a painting and a check for $2500.

Ohio University also entered teams in Tasks 3 and 4. Task 3 was to propose and demonstrate a method to clear blockages in nuclear waste pipelines. Task 4 was to propose a method to recycle jewelry-making "devestment," which is the mold material left over after a piece of jewelry has been cast.

 
 
2001
This year saw 19 students participating, and these included 12 chemical engineering majors and seven civil engineering majors. Four faculty participated, and these included Ben Stuart of Civil and Chemical Engineering, Joe Howard of Civil Engineering, and Darin Ridgway and Dan Gulino of Chemical Engineering.

This year Ohio University again came home with three awards. The Task 7 team won second place for its task, which was to propose uses for small diameter ponderosa pine, and the Task 11 team won second place for its task, which was to propose environmentally friendly ways to recycle the waste streams generated by semiconductor processing. For both of these, the award consisted of a trophy and a check for $1000. Ohio University as a whole won the overall award in the Sustainable Development track, and the award here consisted of a sand painting created by member of the Navajo Indian tribe and a check for $2500. Ohio University also entered a team in Task 6, which was to propose a way to remove solid waste material from storage tanks.

 
 
2002
This year 18 students participated, and these included 11 chemical engineering majors and seven civil engineering majors. Four faculty participated, and these included Ben Stuart of Civil and Chemical Engineering, Joe Howard of Civil Engineering, and Darin Ridgway and Dan Gulino of Chemical Engineering.

For the 2002 contest, Ohio University did not win any awards. Three tasks were entered, and these were to propose methods to remove explosive material from soil, to remove uranium contaminants from drinking water, and to propose alternative uses for small diameter timbers.

 
 
2003
Sixteen students participated this year, and these included 11 chemical engineers and five civil engineers.  Faculty participants once again included Ben Stuart, Darin Ridgway, and Dan Gulino.

For 2003, OU once again returned to its winning ways, taking a second place in two of the three tasks entered.  One second-place award was worth $500 and the other $750.  The Task 3 team proposed a method to remove copper from semiconductor processing waste streams, and the Task 11 team proposed chemical products that might be made from timber harvested in forest-thinning operations.  OU also entered a team in Task 2, which was to propose methods to remove arsenic from drinking water.

 
 
2004

For 2004, 19 students (12 chemical engineering majors, six civil engineering majors, and one biological sciences major), 17 of whom ultimately made the trip, participated on three teams working on three tasks.  Faculty participation once again included Ben Stuart, Darin Ridgway, and Dan Gulino.

The Task 3 team looked at methods to remove perchlorate from domestic drinking water systems, which has become a major issue in western states.  The Task 4 team investigated methods to remove and store ("sequester") carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reduce the effects on the atmosphere of the combustion of fossil fuels, and the Task 5 team looked at ways to reduce fecal bacteria from the wash water coming from produce packing houses.

Ohio University's teams did not win any awards this year, but we did receive praise in private conversations with judges and others associated with WERC about various aspects of our efforts.  Plus, as is the case every year, it is of great benefit to the students and the faculty simply to have participated.

 
 
2005

For 2005, ten students (eight chemical engineering majors and two civil engineering majors) participated on two teams working on two tasks.  Darin Ridgway and Dan Gulino accompanied the students this year.

The Task 3 team looked at ways to remove ammonia and hydrogen peroxide from semiconductor processing waste streams while the Task 8 team looked at ways to control dust emissions from soil in the western U.S. due to surface activities such as road or building construction and traffic on unpaved roads.  The Task 8 team won (actually shared with the University of Manitoba) the Bechtel award for most innovative approach.  The award consisted of a sand painting, a traveling trophy (which the Manitobans kept for the first half of the year and we kept for the second), and $1,250 in cash.

 
 
2006

For 2006, seven students (six chemical engineering majors and one mechanical engineering major—the first time an ME student has worked with us) participated on one team working on one task.  Darin Ridgway and Dan Gulino once again worked with the students this year.  Ben Stuart also made the trip, and he offered valuable assistance and advice all week.

The team's task (Task 6) was to find a way to remove black smoke from diesel operations.  While the team acquitted itself well, no awards were won.

 
 
2007
Ohio University did not enter any teams for 2007.
 
 
2008

For 2008, nine students (all chemical engineering majors) participated on two teams working on two tasks.  Darin Ridgway and Dan Gulino once again worked with the students this year.

The Task 1 team looked at ways to retrofit existing commercial buildings with a variety of technologies to improve energy efficiency.  The Task 3 team investigated desalination of inland brackish water for human consumption.

 
 
2009

For 2009, nine students worked in two teams on two tasks.  The Task 3 team, which consisted of four chemical engineering majors, worked on methods to remove several metals from brackish water as the first step in making it drinkable, and the Task 5 team, which consisted of two chemical engineering majors, two mechanical engineering majors, and one civil engineering major, looked at innovative ways to use wind energy directly (not converting it to electricity) to make clean water.

 
 
2010

For 2010, five students worked in one team on one task, Task 1.  This goal of this task was to devise a method of concentrating water samples for easier transport to testing facilities.  All five team members were chemical engineering majors.

 
 
2011

For 2011, 13 students worked on two tasks.  The Task 3 team, consisting of six chemical engineering majors, worked on methods to clean reverse osmosis membranes, while the Task 7 team, consisting of six chemical engineering majors and one mechanical engineering major,  worked on ways to disinfect water to make it drinkable without using energy derived from fossil fuels with a goal of serving small, rural communities.

 
 
2012

For 2012, seven students, all chemical engineering majors, are doing something new.  For the first time, WERC is including an "open task" where a team can choose a project on its own without responding to a specific prompt from WERC.  The group has chosen to work on the issue of minimizing the impact of ballast water cleaning techniques on Great Lakes ecosystems.

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All teams and task members are to be congratulated for their fine effort and their outstanding representation of Ohio University in New Mexico.

 

More information about the design contest itself is available at the WERC web site.

 
 
 
Ohio University/WERC by the numbers.

Here are some facts and figures regarding Ohio University's participation in the WERC Environmental Design Contest since 1999.

 

 

 

On the pages that follow, these journeys are chronicled (sort of).

Click on the postcard below and come on in!

 

(from the back of the postcard)

 

This page was last updated on February 22, 2012.