The Aquaponics Design Team: Senior Design Team Works with DU Solar Decathlon
On May 15 the Ritchie School hosted their annual Senior Design Symposium virtually. Every senior design team participated in this symposium and worked hard to ensure that the Ritchie community was able to learn about their projects.
The Aquaponics Design Team was sponsored by the 2020 DU Solar Decathlon Team. The team consisted of: Weldyn Allen (BS ME) - Project Manager; Katie Hollander (BS ME) - Financial Manager; Sarah Gibb (BS ME) - Lead CAD Engineer; and Sterling Belleau (BS CpE) - Lead Computer Engineer.
Aquaponics systems are the epitome of sustainable living by creating a self-sustaining ecological balance where the system’s waste products are reintroduced into the system as a fuel source. Aquaponics creates a continuous flow of life between the aquatic and the botanic ecosystems. Sponsored by the DU Solar Decathlon team, the Aquaponics Design Team was tasked with designing a full-scale, indoor aquaponics system to supplement the diets of future occupants of the 2020 DU Solar Decathlon home. This project is aimed at improving the team’s performance at the 2020 Solar Decathlon Competition by contributing to overall innovation, sustainability, and energy-conscious categories.
The design features two grow beds and a single fish tank containing Tilapia. The grow beds are supported by a shelving unit constructed from reclaimed materials. The fish tank is supported by a reclaimed furniture piece that was remodelled to meet loading requirements of the tank. By using mechanical advantage in the form of a Bell Siphon and Stand pipe, the team was able to limit the overall power draw required to cycle the water between the fish tank and grow beds resulting in a total power draw of 2.8kWh. The system features a BlueLab Connect monitoring system to continuously monitor the system parameters in order to alert the home occupants to necessary system maintenance. Computational tools were used to inform the design process and verify the selected design prior to implementation. The team’s design was verified through Computational Fluid Dynamic analysis of the system plumbing, CAD: Solidworks Stress Analysis on the system shelving, and User Interface demonstration. The system has been implemented on site for the 2020 Solar Decathlon Competition.
The Aquaponics Design Team worked hard and pivoted to ensure that their design did not suffer from the sudden changes in the Spring quarter. As their team was the only Senior Design team that included live animals it was important to ensure they were safely relocated. This team’s hard work will allow opportunities for consumers to expand and find other sustainable solutions that will produce long-term effects on energy and pollution.