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New York State Pollution Prevention Institute

2016-2017 Competition Results

Five undergraduate and three graduate teams from colleges and universities across New York State received funding and competed in the 6th Annual R&D Student Competition on April 21, 2017 at the Student Competition Exhibition held at University at Buffalo.

The competition topics this year included Water Quality and Conservation, Food Waste Source Reduction, and Air Quality. 

Participating schools included: Clarkson University, Syracuse University, University of Buffalo, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and SUNY Albany. 

$7,000 in cash prizes were awarded this year. Congratulations to the winners, and a big thank you to all the teams that participated!

Winners

Earning the top three graduate-level positions

University at Buffalo
Catalytic NO Oxidation with Liquid Absorption Using Polymeric Catalysis: Sustainable and Cost-Effective NOx Control
Catalytic NO Oxidation with Liquid Absorption Using Polymeric Catalysis: Sustainable and Cost-Effective NOx Control
University at Buffalo
Summary

In this work, nitric oxide (NO) catalytic oxidation with liquid absorption (COLA) was investigated as an alternative technology to selective catalytic reduction (SCR) for NOx emission control, using a modified polymer that can efficiently (> 62%) oxidize NO to NO2 in simulated industrial conditions (50% RH). Produced NO2 was absorbed in a water bubbler to react with KOH and produce KNO3, a common fertilizer. Up to 94% total NOx removal is demonstrated. Cost analyses show that COLA requires < 20% of SCR capital investment and has < 30% net annual cost due to annual revenue from KNO3 production. Life cycle assessments show that environmental impacts of using COLA are fewer than using SCR, particularly for factors related to climate change, ecotoxicity, and natural resource depletion. Experimental observations and economical and environmental analyses demonstrate the superiority of the proposed technology, COLA, over the current industry standard, SCR.

View Report »
Advisor
John Atkinson
Team
Anti-NOx
Mohsen Ghafari, Mostafa Sabbaghi
Clarkson University
Recyclable Nanosorbent for Treatment and Management of Eutrophication in Environmental Waters
Recyclable Nanosorbent for Treatment and Management of Eutrophication in Environmental Waters
Clarkson University
Summary

The nitrogen and phosphorous cycle in the environment is essential for all forms of life. The increased industrial and agricultural activity in the last few decades has affected the availability of these elements in nature, leading to harmful long-term effects including aquatic eutrophication and alteration of drinking water resources. Therefore, systems capable of detecting, capturing and recycling nitrogen and phosphorous-containing compounds in the environment are needed. We present the development of a nanosorbent technology that incorporates surface-enhanced nanostructured materials with tailored reactivity for the capture, removal and recycling of phosphate. This approach can be used as decision support tool for water monitoring in domestic, agricultural and industrial sites, and as enabling technology for waste water treatment. 

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Advisor
Silvana Andreescu
Team
Recyclable Nanosorbent
Ali Othman, Eduard Dumitrescu, Nandan Kenchappa
N/A
N/A
Summary
[report not available]

Representing the top three undergraduate winners

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Constructed Wetland Solution for the Removal of Benzene from Stormwater
Constructed Wetland Solution for the Removal of Benzene from Stormwater
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Summary

Throughout the United States, approximately 860 communities, including the City of Troy, New York, contain combined sewage systems. This form of archaic infrastructure leads to the release of untreated toxic chemicals and human waste directly to waterbodies during periods of high precipitation. The experimental portion of this project aimed to evaluate the pollutant removal efficiency of different species of aquatic plants over a period of one and a half months. Different systems were simulated in 40 liter glass aquariums; these included duckweed, water hyacinth and a soil mix. The development portion of this project involved feasibility analysis of an engineered wetland to provide both treatment and delay of stormwater runoff. Economic analysis was conducted for a hypothetical wetland system using data from an actual site in Troy, NY.

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Advisor
Marianne Nyman
Team
Be(go)n(e)zene
Samantha Bliss (Leader), Averi Chan, Haley Frank
Rochester Institute of Technology
Prevention of Food Waste by Dual Modified Atmosphere Packaging
Prevention of Food Waste by Dual Modified Atmosphere Packaging
Rochester Institute of Technology
Summary

Fruits and vegetables account for 48% of the food waste. One of the reasons is their rejection based on aesthetics, less than perfect produce perfectly edible. The overall goal of this project is to incentivize the use of imperfect produce and extend the shelf life of fresh-cut products after the package is opened, which will reduce food waste and prevent these products from ending up in the landfill. We developed a dual modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) using micro-perforations that increased the shelf-life of asparagus by 10 days. We estimate that this can save close to 7 million pounds of asparagus a year in the US and the approach and be extended to other fruits and vegetables. 

View Report »
Advisor
Carlos Diaz
Team
Tiger Pack
Yunjing Jiao, Meng Wang, Jiayu Fang

Other Participants

University at Buffalo Graduate Team
Sustainable Wastewater Recycling System with Integrated Constructed Wetland
Syracuse University Undergraduate Team
Orange Goes Green: Teaching Energy Ideals
University at Buffalo Undergraduate Team
Portable Rain Water Collection System
SUNY at Albany Undergraduate Team
Sustainable Landfills, Produce Compost, Greenhouses and Concepts for Growing Suburban Populations