In a project sponsored by the Iowa Energy Center, an organization whose mission is to promote renewable energy alternatives, students designed, fabricated, and tested a fluidized bed gasification system. The system has the potential to convert a variety of biomass feedstocks (wood waste, wood chips, corn cobs, corn stalks, etc.) into energy for agricultural drying or heating applications. The current system was designed to heat a campus greenhouse.
- Fluidization in action - high quality (3.75 MB Windows Media File)
- Fluidization in action - medium quality (1.4 MB Windows Media File)
- Biomass Gasifier Test Flare - high quality (4.05 MB Windows Media File)
- Biomass Gasifier Test Flare - medium quality (1.55 MB Windows Media File)
In a project related to the Manufacturing Utilities Stewardship project, students did a detailed analysis of the energy consumption and inefficiencies associated with the dehydrator booth, brazing oven, quench tank, high temperature paint booth, and compressor system used at Adams Thermal Systems (ATS). In addition to completing a thorough energy audit of these major energy consumers in the plant, students re-designed the paint booth structure to reduce energy losses. Students also designed a heat exchanger to utilize the exhaust from a brazing oven to preheat a quenching bath. The design team also made recommendations to reduce the energy consumed by the compressor used to supply process air to equipment and machines. In addition to potentially saving the company over $17,000 per year, the recommendations, if implemented, will clearly result in environmental benefits.
Students were asked to design a system that would solve a safety and product quality issue in a local manufacturing facility. In order to ensure product quality, the manufacturing environment has to be maintained year-round at a high relative humidity. During the winter months this moist environment creates challenges in the loading dock area where condensation and ice created unsafe working conditions for employees and conditions in which the degradation of product and packaging is possible. After evaluating the conditions in the loading dock area, the design team proposed a dehumidification system to remediate this problem.
Students designed a device that will allow a manufacturer of small DC motors to verify the quality of the magnets used in their motors. With regular testing of magnet quality, the motor manufacturer can insure that the motor provided to the customer is both safe and reliable. Without this test fixture, accurate magnetic field testing would remain a very time consuming and tedious task.
- Magnetic Field Test Fixture Design - high quality (2.6 MB Windows Media File)
- Magnetic Field Test Fixture Design - medium quality (1.01 MB Windows Media File)
Students conducted an in-depth engineering analysis of electricity usage and effluent discharge at Adams Thermal Systems (ATS), a company that manufactures compact heat exchangers. The group made recommendations for process redesign that would enable ATS to more effectively steward energy and water resources. The student team evaluated power usage, lighting, process water discharge, and utility record keeping at the company. The recommendations and process redesign could potentially save the company up to $25,000 per year and significantly reduce the company's environmental impact. A second student engineering team investigated thermal inefficiencies associated with the manufacturing facility.