2015 Senior Design Projects

The projects below are for BSEN 4310 Spring Senior Design.  There are nine design teams participating in this Biosystems Engineering course for the 2015 Spring Semester.

AU Garden of Memory Pond Restoration and Wetland Design

memory gardenTeam Poster

Jesse Blanton, Alexus Brown, and Michael Clark

Project Statement:

The Garden of Memory was once a showcase of the elegance and beauty of the Auburn University campus, and a popular location for recreation and reflection. In recent years, the site has fallen into a state of disrepair. The pond and its effluent stream are contaminated with detritus from the surrounding dorms, and plagued by high turbidity and algae growth due to eutrophication and poor drainage. Auburn University has recognized this problem and expressed a desire to return the garden to its former grandeur, restoring its aesthetic value and ecological functionality. The goals are to design a sustainable, constructed wetland that restores the water quality of the pond and its effluent stream to compliance with ADEM freshwater fish and wildlife habitat standards, and to remediate poorly drained soils around the pond. The wetland design will utilize indigenous plants to extract excess nutrients from the water, and a recirculation system to increase water flow through the wetland, and the waterlogged soils will be filled. The design will be constrained by the types and sources of pollutants in the water, the size of the watershed draining to the stream, the slope of the stream, and a construction budget of $100,000.

Portable Aquaponic Demonstration and Education System

Team Poster

Jace Owens, Hillary Sanders, and Courtney Harknessaquaponics

Problem Statement:

By incorporating plants into aquaculture, producers are able to capture and use the nutrients already paid for but not utilized completely by the fish. Aquaponics is a more efficient form of growing produce when compared with traditional field based techniques. In this project, we will design a demonstration aquaponics system to be used as a teaching tool and to raise awareness of the benefits of aquaponics in the general public. The goal is to design a portable 250-gallon aquaponic system inside an 8’x 8’x 40’ shipping container. The aquaculture portion will be centered on the production of Koi with fish waste supplying enough nutrients for optimal production of bib lettuce using the raft method, planting lettuce in a grid pattern on a floating 280-square foot raft sitting on top of the water.

Auburn University Biomass Washer and Dewatering System for Biofuel Production

Team Poster

biomassAndrew Vaughan, Calla Warren, and Andrew Young

Problem Statement:

Biomass is organic material that contains stored energy from the sun. Energy from biomass is one of the renewable resources that is being studied to reduce our nation’s reliance on imported fossil fuel. However, during the harvesting and handling of biomass, contaminant ash content from soil becomes attached to the biomass. This ash contains potassium that causes slagging and fouling during thermochemical and biochemical conversion processes. Removing the potassium from the ash can make the production of bio-based products more efficient. The Auburn University Center for Bioenergy and Bioproducts is interested in the design of a mechanized washing and dewatering system for a pilot sized biomass operation of 2500 dry pounds per day that will remove 90% of potassium from Southern Pine micro wood chips. The washing system will be based on results obtained from a previous completed experimental study at Auburn University that used sulfuric acid solution. An onsite system to treat the wastewater from the washing system will be designed to meet ADEM standards and OSHA operator safety requirements.

Corley BRC Water Reclamation Project

Team Poster

Simon Gregg, Mary Catherine Rubisch, and Emily Squiercorley water reclaimation

Project Statement:

Recently construction was completed on two Bioretention Cells (BRCs) located within the courtyard behind Auburn University’s Corley building. In addition to improving storm water quality, reducing peak discharge, and providing an aesthetic appeal to the courtyard, the BRCs provide a potential for showcasing applications of Biosystems Engineering. To minimize maintenance and conserve water, two separate irrigation application systems capable of maintaining the soil moisture necessary to meet plant requirements during a two week drought period will be designed. The irrigation systems will also possess the ability to utilize municipal water supplies if needed during the summer and a pump to lower the water table maintained by Internal Water Storage (IWS) to reduce saturation during the winter. Each system will be powered by a wind or solar energy source capable of generating and storing enough electricity to meet the demands of each irrigation system without connecting to the power grid.

Forest Road Stream Crossing At Mary Olive Thomas Tract

Team Poster

forest stream tractChris Elliot, Joe Green, and Martha Priester

Problem Statement:

Many forest road stream crossings are hastily constructed for a logging operation but wash out after the first significant storm event. The cost of replacing a culvert may be avoided by designing the crossing to withstand a design storm and to control soil loss. A bulkhead or retaining structure will be implemented to prevent erosion by taking into account length of the pipe, road surface elevation above the pipe, and angle of repose of the soil material.

Considering an existing culvert stream crossing on a client tract in Kentucky, our design of a bulkhead system will provide sufficient width and stability to accommodate repeated logging traffic such as a 9-foot wide, 40 ton truck, control erosion at the site, and withstand a 25-year, 24-hour storm. The design will consist of materials that can be easily transported on low-volume forest roads and be economical when compared to purchasing an additional 20 foot culvert pipe.

CAT A TAC

Team Poster

Conyers Coupland, Dustin Till, and Sarah Ashworthcat-a-tac

Problem Statement:

ASABE hosts an annual Quarter-Scale Tractor competition where university student design teams build a tractor that competes in a variety of events. The goal of this project is to design and implement an actuated, non-linear control system for a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that will be incorporated into the Auburn University tractor design. One of the events is a tractor pull competition that involves the use of a progressive weight sled that increases the loading on the tractor with increased pulling distance. One of the advantages of using a CVT in the competition is the ability to maintain a constant pulling force on the sled without the need for shifting gears. CVTs are typically controlled by a flyweight system as a function of engine speed. Replacing the flyweight control system with a linear actuator, the system will be capable of varying the gear ratio between 3.5 and 0.98:1 smoothly, quickly, and independent of engine speed. The 12V actuator will be programmed to operate in different modes, corresponding to optimal operating conditions for each competition event. The programmable control system will be tested on a custom built hydraulic dynamometer.

 Mechanization of Oyster Drying Equipment in the Gulf of Mexico

Team Poster

oyster dryingJ. Wesley Caputo James Geraughty, Jr. and Sarah Rudder

Problem Statement:

Within the Gulf of Mexico, there is an inherent need for the mechanization of an oyster drying system that is used to control biofouling during the growing season. Oyster drying is the process of exposing growing oysters to ambient air for a period of time to minimize biofouling. Biofouling is the growth of biotic matter that inhibits the growth of the oyster by a parasitic relationship between barnacles and biotic matter within an ocean environment.  The goal of this project is to mechanize the current, manual drying process into a semi-autonomous control system while increasing the quality and quantity of the oyster yield. In addition, the design will reduce the overall cost of oyster production. The design of a mechanized lifting system for the floating oyster cages along a 100 yard cable line into the Gulf of Mexico will comply with recognized constraints such as existing equipment, a drying time of 24 hours and a 5 foot ocean depth with a tidal movement of less than one foot.

Gulf Coast Solar Powered Oyster Nursery

Team Poster

Sam Deck, Manny Norrell, Keith Roberts, and Carson Edgeoyster nursery

Problem Statement:

The production of farm grown oysters has become a growing industry in the United States with many locations around the Gulf of Mexico having the potential to support oyster farming operations. Many oyster farmers around the Gulf rely on oyster nurseries to provide the oyster seed needed to begin their farms. Current nursery designs rely on grid power and are immobile making them susceptible to severe weather. Our team goal is to design a mobile nursery that operates on solar power that would give farmers the opportunity to produce their own seed oysters closer to their farming sites. The nursery design will include an upweller pump capable of supplying 0.1  to each suspended silo and capable of withstanding water salinity levels of 35 ppt. This design will also include a grid independent PV system capable of supplying the power needed for the 24 hour oyster growth period. Both the upweller system and PV system will be designed to fit on a trailer to allow farmers to easily transport the nurseries in case of severe weather. The total cost for this design will be below the current amount of $32,000 that is required to build and install a fixed solar power oyster nursery.

Constructed Wetland and Filter Berm System for Reducing Phosphorus Loss

Team Poster

wetland filtrationRyan Baker, Victoria Burnett, Trey Clayton, and Jenny Walter

Problem Statement:

Auburn University’s Piedmont Research Facility located in Camp Hill, AL is used by faculty and students for agricultural field-based research. Currently a 35.8 acre field is used for the production of hay and to study the use of poultry litter as a fertilizer. Due to the application of the poultry litter, the site is currently experiencing large quantities of phosphorus (P) runoff that could cause potential eutrophication of nearby wetlands.  If left untreated, the loading of nutrients could lead to algal blooms, which can alter the integrity of the downstream watershed. Our goal is to design a wetland and filter berm system that will use flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum to treat the P runoff from the agricultural field. Most importantly, this project is designed for the study of FGD gypsum as a means to remove dissolved P from agricultural runoff. The wetland system will be designed for a 10 year lifespan and include an overland system to capture and treat rainfall from a one-year storm. The system outlet will target the ADEM water division standard of 1 mg/L P monthly average wetland effluent.

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2015