A project designed to prevent water used in sinks, showers and washing machines from going to waste has earned Cal Poly Pomona engineering students a second-place prize at the Metropolitan Water District’s 10th annual Spring Green Expo.
Bowen Du, Crystal Mena, Daniel Andrade, Joshua Pham, Justine L. Nguyen, Kyle J. Miller, Mohammad Massoud Modabernia, Pui Yuen Ng, and Thuan Nguyen devised a multi-level filtration system that recycles gray water. The project, a joint effort between the mechanical and civil engineering departments, will be built in the next two years with a $100,000 grant from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD).
“I am very proud of my student team,” says Mechanical Engineering Professor Reza Baghaei Lakeh. “They are dedicated and passionate about an applied research project that can potentially help many people to have access to high-quality water. I am very happy to see that our learn-by-doing philosophy is leading our students to beat teams from many research universities.”
The April 20 Green Expo aimed to increase public awareness of environmental issues and how people can live and work in a more sustainable way. Students from several Southern California universities participated in the Eco Innovators’ Showcase, where individual and team projects were judged by a panel of engineers, architects and water-resource specialists.
Lakeh says the grant for the project requires that students participate in competitions. The expo was the first one the team has entered.
Cal Poly Pomona students are on a mission to develop a low-cost, zero-emission and independent water treatment unit they are calling the Decentralized Renewable Off-grid Water Treatment (DROWT) Project, which uses solar power to desalinate water so it can be reclaimed.
The team has built a bench-scale model of the desalination machine that they plan to use as a starting point for pilot-scale water purification system, Lakeh says.