2016 Senior Design Projects

The projects below are for BSEN 4310 Spring Senior Design.  There are six design teams participating in this Biosystems Engineering course for the 2016 Spring Semester.

Automated Feed Bin Gate Design by Don’t Let the Chickens Go Hungry

feed binTeam Poster

Holly Haber, Trey Colley, and Brock Daughtry

Problem Statement:

Cumberland is a member of the GSI Group of companies and a major producer of commercial poultry production equipment, including feeding systems and storage. Large commercial broiler farms utilize mechanized feeding systems to deliver both fine grained and pelleted feed to the birds. Broilers are kept in houses equipped with sophisticated climate control systems and automated feeding systems supplied by large external dual feed bins. The first bin of the storage system feeds the auger conveyance system until empty, then the second bin is opened. Feed bin transition requires a manual closing and opening of the bins. If not done immediately, a lapse in feeding of the broilers occurs, resulting in smaller birds and a consequent decrease in profit for the farmers. Automating this process, per Cumberland’s request, will ensure that the birds do not go without feed. Our goal is to detect when the first of the tandem tanks is empty and initiate the start of a mechanism that will automate movement of the slide gates.  A control algorithm with sensors will be incorporated into the current climate control system. This interface will also signal the controller when both feed bins are empty, alerting the farmer that one or both bins need to be refilled. The design will take into account several constraints including: ease of use, compatibility with the existing system, durability, user safety and cost-effectiveness.

poultry erosion

Poultry House Erosion Prevention By Fortitech

Team Poster

Kirk Copley, Paisley Guo, and Geoffrey Lein

Problem Statement:

Poultry houses commonly utilize mixed clay pads as foundations. If these pads are not properly protected from erosion, a poultry house may experience structural failure. Hydraulic scouring around a house’s foundation during large rain events is a key concern. Since many poultry houses are not equipped with rain gutter systems due to cost, our team will create a set of economical erosion prevention alternatives. These alternatives will consider the age of the house, condition and make-up of the clay pad, and house construction type. Erosion prevention alternatives include riprap, geo-textiles, and vegetated and/or concrete waterways. To assure our design alternatives are durable, each alternative will withstand the erosive power of storm water runoff from a 24-hour 25-year storm and a 24-hour 50-year storm in Cullman, Alabama. These two design storms allow a farmer to choose what level of risk they are willing to incur versus the cost of the design alternative built to withstand the erosivity of either storm. Our team will then create a “decision matrix” of these alternatives and their cost-benefit analysis over the lifetime of a house to address which alternative best fits a farmer’s needs and budget. This decision matrix will be produced to aid poultry farmers in Alabama.

Development of 3D-printed Media for a Wastewater Biofilter By AOE Bioworks Designs


Team Poster

Olivia Elliott, Ann Nunnelley, Eric Vogt

Project Statement:

Aquaculture operations create a large amount of wastewater containing pollutants toxic to fish, such as ammonia, which require remediation. Methods of pollutant recovery include biofiltration which consists of the cultivation of microbial biofilms attached to various substrates ranging from a constructed polymer to simply a rock. Recent advances in 3D printing technologies allow for the fabrication of new media with complex shapes and increased surface area. The goal of this project is to increase microbial colonization for pollutant removal efficiency of greater than ten percent per pass. The objective is to design and fabricate a new media with a surface area exceeding 300 ft2/ft3 using 3D printing. Two bench-top moving bed biofilters will be designed and constructed to compare the new media to the existing media on the market. The comparisons will be used to optimize flow parameters and evaluate the efficiency of converting ammonium to nitrate in wastewater obtained from the Auburn University Fisheries research facility. Finally, a cost-benefit analysis will be prepared based on cost of manufacturing, efficiency, and design life to determine the feasibility of producing full-scale biofilter systems with the new 3D printed media.

Storybook Farm Site Expansion Design By Water Management Solutions

storybook farmsTeam Poster

Taylor Littleton, Christina Richard, and Kade Campbell

Problem Statement:

Storybook Farms is a non-profit horse farm operating on 25 acres in Opelika, AL. This organization encourages disabled children to gain confidence, bravery, and intrapersonal connections with peers, horses, and mentors. Storybook Farms aims to enhance the experience of the children by improving environmental efficiency of the current water management onsite. To do this, a rainwater harvesting system will be designed to capture and reuse rainfall from the roofs of a barn, a shed, and a pavilion into multiple 3,000 gallon tanks based off yearly rainfall data for Opelika, AL. The water collected will be used to irrigate a vegetable garden, to help cover eroded areas on site with vegetation, and to manage dust within the two horse arenas. The existing drainage system will also be altered to suit the construction of a new pavilion. All designs will meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act imposed by the United States Department of Justice by safely removing storm water runoff from working areas using a 24 hour 25 year design storm calculation.

The ASABE Quarter Scale Tractor CVT Mounting Adapter By Quarter Power 

Team Posterquarter scale

John Llorens, Richard Bliss, and Samuel Dunbar

Problem Statement:

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) hosts an annual quarter-scale tractor design competition, during which each contending team’s tractor enters into several competitive events.  The Auburn University team intends to utilize a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and transaxle in their tractor design.  The CVT allows the tractor to shift through a continuous range of gear ratios, allowing seamless transition from one gear ratio to the next without losing momentum.  The transaxle will transmit power from the secondary clutch of the CVT to the rear tires and will allow the tractor operator to select the range of speeds.  Quarter Power’s objective is to provide an optimal drive-train, and design and fabricate an adapter to mount the primary clutch of the CVT to the output shaft of the engine without modification to the engine or clutch.  This mounting adapter must be of rigid construction, lightweight, easily maintained, cost effective, and must permit removal and installation of the primary clutch within two minutes.  Additionally, Quarter Power will also analyze gear ratios for the transaxle.  One ratio must be determined to maintain no more than four mph during two of the ASABE quarter-scale tractor competitions.  Another ratio must be determined to allow the tractor to reach a speed of 10 mph or greater during the pulling competition, during which the tractor will progressively pull up to 1500 pounds.

Greenhouse Tilapia Farm in Honduras By Super Tilapia Bros.

Team Poster

Joshua Passantino, John Felkins, and Thomas Zhangtilapia farm

Problem Statement:

Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America. UNICEF estimates that a quarter of the Honduran population suffers from chronic malnutrition. Nevertheless, Honduras is one of the largest exporters of tilapia to the U.S. because of optimal growing conditions in the country. Mission Upreach, a non-profit organization based out of Santa Rosa de Copán, wishes to build a commercial tilapia farm to provide nutrition to the surrounding area and a source of income to help support their programs to improve life for the community. The goal of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of tilapia farm sizes varying from 10,000 to 100,000 tilapia grown per year for the client. A system will be designed so that the pond temperatures are at optimal levels for tilapia growth between 25-34oC. The design will include a system to meet all of the energy needs for the farm that harnesses renewable energy, analysis for intensive and non-intensive farming practices, and a cost/benefit analysis for the alternatives. Our team will provide a sustainable design for the farm to operate within the budget of the non-profit organization.

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2016