Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

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

15.05.2009
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: http://www.eng.rpi.edu/magazine/img/sp07/pdf/sp07_pdf_montoya.pdf

Michael Mullaney | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>