Environmental design contest winners announced

University of New Mexico assembles their benchscale design which was recognized for its "well thought and executed bench design and data."

Las Cruces, NM— Winners of the 22nd International Environmental Design Contest were announced last Wednesday at the Las Cruces Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. Twenty-two student teams representing 15 universities from across the U.S. attended the April 1-4 contest. Hosted by New Mexico State University’s Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE), the contest awarded $20,000 to winning teams for solving technical environmental problems. Having spent nine months to a year on their projects, the student teams presented oral, written, poster and bench-scale demonstrations of their innovative solutions to real-world problems at the annual competition.

“The University of New Mexico did an outstanding job during the competition,” said Dr. Abbas Ghassemi, Director of IEE. “The team had the highest overall total score and highest individual scores in each of the four categories.” The UNM team received first place in the Task 5 category for designing an improved method for pretreating water on sea-going ships. The team developed a realistic solution that could be applied to both seawater and inland application, reducing the environmental impact produced by the current pretreatment process. The team was composed of chemical engineering seniors Peter Crowder, Andrew Gomez, Zachariah Harris, Stephen Clark, and Craig Garcia, who was the team leader. The team was advised by Geoff Courtin, a research engineer who served as the mentor  for the students.

Among national winners were teams from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Harvey Mudd College, who attended the contest for the first time. Both teams were recognized with a judges choice award for their entries. University of California Riverside also sent a team to the environmental contest. The University of California team received first place in their category for an installable storm drain filter called “Sustain-a-drain.”

A full list of winners and events at the contest is available at http://ieenmsu.org.This year’s event was sponsored by the State of New Mexico, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Intel Corporation, the Office of Naval Research, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

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