Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Students Secure Funding To Develop Solar-Powered Pasteurization System in Peru

A team of students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will be spending part of the summer designing and starting to build solar-powered pasteurization systems for communities in rural Peru.

The group of engineers, led by Assistant Professor Lupita D. Montoya, was one of four student teams nationally to win a highly competitive Summer Engineering Experience in Development (SEED) grant from nonprofit volunteer organization Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW).

The project aims to help the Langui and Canas community in southern Peru by developing affordable, solar-powered pasteurization equipment. Many families in the region have dairy cows and produce milk, yogurt, and cheeses on a small scale, but cannot obtain certification to market these products because they lack proper sanitation equipment. The new pasteurization systems will allow these families to meet governmental regulations and begin selling their dairy products and earning additional income.

“Currently farmers make dairy products for personal consumption and trade with neighbors. During our first trip people told us that they were looking to sell products beyond their town but needed certification,” said team member Tara Clancy, an environmental engineering major at Rensselaer who graduates this week. “Obtaining certification will enable farmers to strengthen their economic independence, but they won’t be able to be certified without direct access to water, energy, and sanitary facilities. That’s where we can start to implement appropriate technologies.”

This summer, Montoya, Rensselaer mechanical engineering doctoral student Erin Lennox, and rising junior Anna Cyganowski will volunteer their time in Langui and Lima, Peru. Along with working on the design and engineering of pasteurization devices, they will partner with students from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) to investigate the social and economic aspects of creating a dairy enterprise. This effort will include examining how the community currently produces dairy products, looking into local manufacturing regulations, and studying the local marketplace. The student team also plans to work with microfinance experts in Peru to make small loans to families to purchase the equipment and improve facilities. A student supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer will also join this team.

“The villagers in the region stated their interest in selling dairy products at the larger markets, but they also recognize that they lack the appropriate technologies and conditions needed to achieve certification,” Lennox said. “It will be exciting and challenging for us to apply our engineering know-how to help them attain this important goal.”

“It’s rewarding to be involved with a real-world project and know that your hard work can have a direct positive impact on not just one person, but an entire community,” Cyganowski said.

The project builds on past humanitarian engineering work by Montoya to challenge students to develop new, affordable technologies to help improve the quality of life in rural Peru. These student innovations are currently installed or housed in the project flagship Ecological Home for the Andes, which serves as a community training site in Langui and aims to showcase the technologies for nearby communities.

The students hope to have their new pasteurization system designed, operational, and in place at the Ecological Home for the Andes in one year.

“This wonderful group of students clearly realizes their own potential,” Montoya said. “Often our students are reminded of the rich history of this institution, but these students are now making their own history, one that is more inclusive and in-tune with our present challenges. They are not just smart; they have the courage to take on big challenges and the determination to engineer solutions and implement them in ways that make a difference in the world beyond Rensselaer.”

Along with Rensselaer, the other ESW SEED grant winners were Stanford University, the University of California Berkeley, and Purdue University. Founded in 2001, the ESW is “an engaged technical community with the vision of changing the world through engineering education, innovation, and practical action,” and seeks to stimulate and foster an increased and more diverse community of engineers, as well as infuse sustainability into the practice and studies of every engineer.

For more information on Montoya’s sustainable engineering research, visit:

Michael Mullaney | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht 'Super yeast' has the power to improve economics of biofuels
18.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Engineers reveal fabrication process for revolutionary transparent sensors
14.10.2016 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Second research flight into zero gravity

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

How Does Friendly Fire Happen in the Pancreas?

21.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>