College or School
Environmental Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Biological Sciences
Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems
Faculty Research Advisor
Second Faculty Research Advisor
Third Faculty Research Advisor
Started in Fall 2015, Project OASIS (Optimizing Aquaponic Systems to Improve Sustainability) is an interdisciplinary capstone project with the goal of designing a sustainable and affordable small-scale aquaponic system for use in developing nations to tackle the problems of malnutrition and food insecurity. Aquaponics is a symbiotic relationship between fish and vegetables growing together in a recirculating system. The project’s goals were to minimize energy consumption and construction costs while using universally available materials. The computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software OpenFOAM was used to create transient and steady-state models of fish tanks to visualize velocity profiles, streamlines, and particle movement. CFD and small scale experiments showed vertical manifolds were more efficient than horizontal inlets. The components’ layout was analyzed to minimize head losses and airlifts were used instead of traditional water pumps. Full-scale research and traditional systems were constructed for side-by-side comparison of biological and energy factors. Flow improvements and use of air-lift pumps dropped energy consumption 40% when compared to a traditional system of the same size. Using local and recycled materials where possible decreased the cost of the UNH pilot system by 27%.
The team also partnered with Forjando Alas, a non-profit in Uvita, Costa Rica. During a January 2016 assessment trip, four members spent a week gathering data and building relationships with the community to develop a user-centered design. Project OASIS also successfully competed in two entrepreneurship competitions this year.
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Balcom, Paige; Little, Mikalah; Nigam, Siddharth; Taveras, Will; and Wood, Allison, "Project OASIS: Optimizing Aquaponic Systems to Improve Sustainability" (2016). Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) Student Presentations. 14.