team photo

Figure 1
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Figure 2
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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Team 16

Team Members

Advisor

Katarina Konon
Brianna Markunas
Abigale Monasterial
Renée Rogan

Kristina Wagstrom

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Design of a Biogas Digester for Rural Uganda

Guiding Light Orphans (GLO), a nonprofit charitable organization, is addressing the ongoing health crisis in rural Masindi, Uganda. The community faces sanitation issues due to poor human waste disposal and lack of healthcare due to unreliable electricity. The goal of this project was to design a biogas digester to improve sanitation and provide a stable source of electricity. Inside the digester, human waste and crop residue will undergo anaerobic digestion to create biogas and digestate. The biogas will consistently power a medical center and vocational school, which GLO plans to build. These facilities will create a healthier and more sustainable community by providing healthcare, food security, and professional training. The digestate will be treated using UV light, making it safe to use as fertilizer. We calculated the volume of the biogas digester, the biogas and digestate yields, and the expected electricity output by modeling the kinetics and thermodynamics of the anaerobic digestion reactions. These reactions produce enough biogas to power the proposed facilities. The digester is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain since it may be difficult for villagers to get help operating it in this rural community. By converting waste into energy, this project reduces environmental impact and gives the community a reliable source of electricity.