Senior Design Projects 2022–23

202: Anaerobic Digestion System Design for Fabrica De Mezcal

Anaerobic Digestion System Design for Fabrica De Mezcal Team Photo
Anaerobic Digestion System Design for Fabrica De Mezcal Team Photo

Our team developed an anaerobic digestion system capable of converting the waste streams from mezcal production into biogas. The main purpose of the digester is to treat the toxic byproducts from mezcal production so they do not pollute the environment. This system will be sized and a cost analysis applied to design this system, in order to determine reliability and meet regulatory standards at the lowest cost.

206: Biobenefication—Civil Design

Biobenefication Civil Design Team
Biobenefication Civil Design Team Photo

There are various methods for mineral extraction from lithium ores. Flotation is a commonly used beneficiation process of lithium. Recent research has shown that Gram-positive rhizosphere bacterium, Paenbacillus poloxyma, produces a bio-surfactant that eliminates many of the issues associated with the flotation process. It can also be used to change the settling properties of similar minerals like quartz and mica, which allows for an easier extraction of spodumene. Integrating the use of this bio-surfactant into the lithium extraction process reduces, or eliminates entirely, the need to use chemical depressants associated with fatty acids, high intensity agitating, and heat-treating.

207: Biobeneficiation as Pretreatment to the Flotation of Pegmatite Ore

Pegmatite ore, which contains lithium, is currently processed in the U.S. using flotation methodology. This process is inefficient and ineffective due to the similar densities of minerals in the ore. The goal of this project is to design a pretreatment process to improve lithium recovery. Biobeneficiation as a pretreatment to flotation has been shown to significantly improve the retrieval of a desired mineral. Biobeneficiation uses a biological agent to separate the desired mineral from the ore. In this case Paenibacillus polymyxa (P. polymyxa) is used to isolate lithium from pegmatite. P. polymyxa produces a polysaccharide which alters the surface chemistry of all minerals, enacting enough transformation to allow for selective separation during flotation.

218: Engineering Design and Cost Estimate for the Well #6  Hydraulic Network

The goal of our project for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is to design a well and its hydraulic system, including a design and cost analysis. This project is necessary because the Keweenaw Bay Tribal Hatchery has a goal to double walleye fry production each year, and is adding in a new 1-acre pond for this purpose that needs to be filled each spring and maintained throughout the production season.