Senior Capstone Design

Find past student examples of Senior Capstone Design projects in the following emphasis areas:

Biomedical Engineering
Environmental and Water Resources Engineering
Bioenergy and Food Engineering


Environmental and Water Resources Engineering

PRRIP Whooping Crane Nesting

Whooping CraneTeam Members: Chris Reimers (AGEN, West Point, NE), Taylor Wiese (BSEN, Lincoln, NE), Scott Speicher (BSEN, Fremont, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Derrel Martin
Client: Dr. Jerry Kenny, Platte River Recovery and Implementation Program
Year: Spring 2013

This project, completed for the Platte River Recovery and Implementation Project, was focused on creating a migration habitat for remaining Whooping Crane Populations. Project aspects include water budget determination, site grading plan alternatives, and selection of water control structures and the corresponding design aspects associated with them. Once this project is completed, it will provide stable pallustrine wetland habitat for Whooping Crane roosting and feeding requirements. TOP  

Trickle Creek East Subwatershed Flood Control and Water Quality Improvement Plan

Trickle CreekTeam Members: Kara Scheel (BSEN, Lincoln, NE), Dana Becker (BSEN, Norfolk, NE), Chris Gice (BSEN, Lincoln, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Dennis Schulte
Client: Carter Hubbard, Olsson Engr.
Year: Spring 2013

The city of Sidney, NE projects growth and development - including a hospital and residential and commercial areas - in the near future. This will affect the watershed drainage into Lodgepole Creek. Our project works with a smaller subwatershed: currently underdeveloped and unable to convey runoff. Our goal was to model and implement retention structures suitable for proper drainage and flood control, to improve safety and water quality for the area. TOP  

Stevens Creek Restoration

Stevens CreekTeam Members: Jacob Martinez (BSEN, Omaha, NE), Katherine Smith (BSEN, Columbus, NE), Keith Miller (BSEN, BattleCreek, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Thomas Franti
Client: Marc Groff, Flatwater Group
Year: Spring 2013

At the Stevens Creek Tributary Stabilization project site in east Lincoln near 98th and Van Dorn Street, the channel is undergoing bed and bank erosion due to historic incision events downstream. A proposed culvert installation may increase bed erosion, which will lower the channel bed elevation by two feet. The Flatwater Group developed a stabilization design plan and expects to begin construction this spring. Our parallel design could be used to evaluate design alternatives for future projects. TOP  

Quarter Scale Tractor

Quarter Scale TractorTeam Members: Austin Zimmerman (AGEN, Beatric, NE), Noel Menard (AGEN, Svannah, MO)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Roger Hoy
Client: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Year: Spring 2013

In the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, an annual student competition is to design and compete with a quarter scale sized tractor that meets their rules and guidelines. In the early part of the summer our team will travel to Peoria, IL to compete with our tractor against several different universities in several different competitions. We will compete in a tractor pull, maneuverability course, design judging, a written report, and an oral presentation. To compete successfully, we must design an efficient tractor that maintains a high engine to wheel torque output. To ensure this, our pre-competition preparation is vital; we must do sufficient testing on our tractor prior to competing with it. Our project includes management duties, including fundraising and money management, team management and responsibility disbursement, and other department fulfillments. TOP  

Fountain Wars

Fountain WarsTeam Members: Adam Emanuel (AGEN, North Bend, NE), Sarah Gardels (BSEN, Columbus, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Dean Eisenhauer and Dr. Derek Heeren
Client: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Year: Spring 2013

Fountain Wars is a student design competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) The fountain we design must be capable of accomplishing the two technical tasks for this year's competition. The first task is to keep a standard racquetball in motion for 3 minutes. The racquetball must travel at least 6 feet vertically and 4 feet horizontally from its original placement point during its travel. The course must also allow the racquetball to have one free fall of at least 3 feet. The second task involves elevating a 16 pound bowling ball to a release point where the ball can then roll to strike bowling pins. Energy used to move both balls must originate from a pump system. All fountain components must fit within the provided reservoir which is approximately 6 feet in diameter with 15 inch high walls. All materials provided by the team including parts, equipment and tools must fit into 5 cases. Each case must have the sum of linear dimensions less than 62 inches and weigh less than 44 pounds including the case and all the packing. Teams are given 120 minutes to assemble their design once at competition. TOP  

Water Pumping Facilities Lab Design

Water PumpTeam Members: Cameron Cunning (AGEN, Lincoln, NE), Becky Dornbierer (AGEN, Deshler, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Dean Eisenhauer
Client: Alan Boldt, Biological Systems Engineering, UNL
Year: Spring 2012

The design group was tasked with selecting new pumps for a teaching lab for the purpose of demonstrating pumping fundamentals, such as in-series and in-parallel operation. Additionally, a variable speed drive was installed for demonstrating the pumping affinity laws, and computer control of the system was implemented. TOP  

Quarter-Scale Tractor

Quarter-ScaleTeam Members: Kurtis Charling (AGEN, Oakland, NE), Jared Speichinger (AGEN, Malmo, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Roger Hoy and Dr. Deepak Keshwani
Client: American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers
Year: Spring 2012

The team’s objective was to design a quarter-scale tractor weighing no more than 800 pounds. The tractor must be powered by a 31-hp Briggs and Stratton Internal Combustion engine. The design must satisfy a set of rules laid out by ASABE for its annual Quarter-Scale Tractor competition. The tractor will be place in a pulling competition, where it will have to pull 1000 and 1500 pounds at two different hitch heights. The tractor will be judged on multiple criteria including, but not limited to, puling amount, safety, marketability, manufacturability, and maneuverability. TOP  

Post Hole Digger

Post Hole DiggerTeam Members: Ian Schuster (Freshman, AGEN, Lincoln, NE), Wesley Schaardt (AGEN, Steinaver, NE), David Lindquist (AGEN, Papillion, NE), Travis Wieser (AGEN, Columbus, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Michael Kocher
Client: Duane and Sam Brockman
Year: Spring 2012

The clients presented a novel idea that would make inserting fence posts faster, easier, and more efficient, while also improving the sustainability of the post material through the use of recycled material in the construction of the post. In order to design a post out of “green” material, the forces applied to the post during rapid installation need to be determined. There are currently no standards available for design of posts made of recycled material for rapid installation. The objective of this project was to design a mechanism for testing and to write a standard for determining the forces applied to a test specimen resembling a post during rapid installation into the ground. TOP  

Prairie Pines Water Retention Structure

Water Retention StructureTeam Members: Ryan Freiberger (BSEN, Topsham, ME), Ross Lawrence (AGEN, Waverly)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Dennis Schulte 
Client: Dr. Jim Brandle, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, School of Natural Resources
Year: Spring 2011

Prairie Pines, a 145-acre property, has been transformed from farmland to an area of diverse woodland and grassland habitats. The purpose of Prairie Pines is to provide an environmental refuge, enhanced arboretum, and horticultural study area northeast of Lincoln, as well as to eventually integrate county extension services, community recreation, and wildlife research and education. The design objective is to specify a water retention structure, such as a pond or wetland, which will be used primarily for educational purposes, such as university research or field trips. It also needs to attract wildlife in addition to being cost effective. Constraints considered include the amount and quality of water available for the structure, soil types, and accessibility to the site. TOP  

Camp-A-Way Stream Restoration

Camp-A-WayTeam Members: Kristen Cope (BSEN, Aledo, TX ), Loc Pham (BSEN, Lincoln), Stacey Joy (BSEN, Vermillion, SD )
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Dean Eisenhauer 
Client: Marc Groff, The Flatwater Group, Lincoln, NE
Year: Spring 2011

A conceptual design was developed for a small channel running through Camp-A-Way Park in northwest Lincoln. This stream has eroded beyond acceptable limits, and Lincoln Parks and Recreation has contracted with the Flatwater Group to correct the problem with assistance from Senior Design students. The conceptual design is based upon the research of historical and current hydrological data, current stream stabilization methods, and other alternative solutions. Several possible channel designs, from natural to hard armoring, were evaluated with the consideration of the constraints, criteria, and client’s wants and needs. TOP 

Small Scale Backflow and Cross-contamination Educational Model

Backflow and Cross-contamination Team Members: Allison Potter (BSEN, Lincoln, NE), Scott Barker (BSEN, Omaha, NE)
Faculty Advisors: Dr. David Admiraal, Dr. Bruce Dvorak, Dr. Dennis Schulte
Client: Nebraska Health and Human Services: Mike Wentink (Training and Certification Officer) and Rick Koenig (Water Supply Specialist)
Year: Fall 2010

In order to make a compelling argument and explain the detrimental health effects of backflow and cross-contamination on a community, Nebraska Health and Human Services (NHHS) needed a visual representation of the most common backflow scenarios occurring in small towns across Nebraska. The models depict scenarios that include: private wells, boilers, water main breaks, fire-fighting, truck fill stations, and lawn chemigation. Four scenarios are illustrated in each of the four models. The model is designed to accommodate easy demonstrating, cleaning, repairing, and transporting. Water pressure in the model is supplied by a pump which obtains water from a basin. Scenarios in the model are represented and visualized with a series of valves, tubing, food coloring, and pressurized vessels. Documentation includes an operating manual, construction documents and a parts manual. TOP

Hell Creek Stream Restoration

Hell Creek Stream Restoration Team Members: Curtis Thoene (AGEN, Crofton, NE), Michael McKinney (BSEN, Scottsbluff, NE), Kathleen Johnson (BSEN, Omaha, NE ), Andrew Anderson (BSEN, Bellevue, NE )
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Tom Franti
Client: Darren Jack, P.E., WLA Consulting, Inc.
Year: Spring 2010

Hell Creek in Douglas County, Nebraska, is an incised urban stream being degraded by high erosive storm flow rates. The team proposed a holistic, green design to restore 2,100 feet of the creek to a more natural stream morphology. The design included modifying the channel geometry to create a more stable cross-sectional area (modeled in the hydraulic simulation program HEC-RAS), utilize soil bioengineering techniques to stabilize the stream banks, and protect stream infrastructure using in-line structures and pier collars. Some of the solutions included Rosgen A6 stream converted to B6 through excavation of 77,330 cubic yards of soil to create a two-stage Rosgen priority 3 cross section, Y-Street bridge pier protection through pier collar placement, and bioengineering all slopes using coir fiber rolls, biodegradable erosion control mats, and permanent native vegetation. TOP 

Prairie Pines Water Source

Prairie Pines Water Source Team Members: Brett Hanika (BSEN, Lincoln, NE), Anna Furby (BSEN, Papillion, NE)
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Dennis Schulte
Client: Dr. James Brandle, School of Natural Resources, UNL
Year: Spring 2010

A former University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty member donated an 144-acre tract of land, Prairie Pines, to UNL to be used as an environmental education center, particularly by the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources (CASNR). The client requested design options for a constructed water source to attract wildlife for course observation. These options included financial estimates, installation and maintenance specifics, and a variety of project scales. SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) was used to predict water yield and water quality. Current rainfall data and water quality data were utilized, and included groundwater availability, location, and topography. Prairie Pines does not receive a large amount of precipitation; the water yield is expected to be approximately seven inches a year. This is not sufficient to sustain a large water source nor is it sufficient to keep a wetland wet all year. The high cost of the initial option, installing a half-acre, subsurface flow constructed wetland, led to the idea of construction of a fifteen-meter berm perpendicular to the channel and excavating a catchment area above the berm. Successful implementation of the water source design would result in an aesthetically pleasing site with seasonal wildlife appeal and the potential to foster environmental education for future Lincoln inhabitants. TOP

2010 ASABE ¼ Scale Tractor Design Team

Quarter Scale TractorTeam Members: Jade Bender (ME, Lincoln, NE), Brady Folck (AGEN, Bloomfield, NE). Branden Baade (AGEN, Artesian, SD )
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Roger Hoy
Client: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Year: Spring 2010

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) hosts an annual competition in Peoria, Illinois, for student teams that design, test, and build a quarter-scale sized pulling tractor. Students gain real world experience in designing, building, marketing, and managing a team. This year’s design is a 2-wheel drive tractor, powered by four engines with a Continuously Variable Transmission. One of the more innovative parts of the tractor is the front axle which provides suspension without the added weight of springs by use of a rubber torsion axle. The project includes marketing information and engineering analysis. The end product is a reliable, powerful, easy-to –use, operator friendly tractor. TOP

Roger’s Memorial Farm Runoff Monitoring Stations

Runoff Monitoring Stations Team Members: Michael Schaal (BSEN, Omaha, NE), Robert Bauer (BSEN, Utica, NE), Andrew Volkmer (AGEN, Syracuse, NE)
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Dean Eisenhauer
Client: Alan Boldt, Research Engineer, Biological Systems Engineering
Year: Spring 2010

Sediment and chemical runoff in agricultural systems is a multi-billion dollar problem in the United States. The Rogers Memorial Research Farm, located ten miles east of Lincoln, and owned by the University of Nebraska, is used by faculty and students to study the effects of agricultural practices on various agronomic and environmental parameters. The objective was to design installations for measuring runoff and rainfall, collecting runoff samples, and to provide flexibility for data access and other research applications. These designs were to be installed in each of two locations serving two watersheds of approximately 13 acres each. The project defined watershed parameters, including peak flow rate and probable chemical constituents in runoff. Cost and benefit analysis of different materials and equipment were performed. The final design used 3 foot H-flumes and Teledyne-ISCO 6700 series samplers. This setup will accommodate the 50-year, 24-hour design period storm for the watershed, and allows production of hydrographs, hyetographs, and mass flow rate “pollutographs” for the watersheds. TOP

Vegetative Treatment System Design

Vegetative Treatment Team Members: Whitney Brown (BSEN, Lincoln, NE), Martin Gakuria (BSEN, Nairobi, Kenya), Kimberly Grieb (BSEN, La Vista, NE)
Faculty Advisor: Christopher Henry, P.E., UNL Extension Engineer
Client: Brian Andreasen
Year: Fall 2009

A Vegetative Treatment System (VTS) is meant to consume the excessive nutrients in the contaminated feedlot runoff for small to medium open lot feeding operations. The main components of a VTS are the sediment basin, vegetative treatment area (VTA), and water distribution system. The client operates an open feedlot feeding operation that does not comply with the regulations established by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), because the untreated feedlot runoff drains into the northwest branch of Papio Creek. The client chose to install a VTS to meet the regulations. The final design consists of west and east sediment basins that hold volumes of 58,000 ft3 and 62,400 ft3, respectively. The VTA will be approximately 8.5 acres and will be planted with a perennial vegetation mixture of grasses and smooth brome to reach proper nutrient removal of the contaminated water. The VTA water table is eight feet or lower and is more than 100 feet from the northwest branch of Papio Creek, and requires a natural slope for an applied flow rate from a sprinkler system. The pipeline that connects the pump at the sediment basins to the VTA crosses the creek. Two options for the pipeline were proposed to the client. The first option is the installation of a bridge to carry the pipe over the creek. The second option is to bury the pipe under the creek. A more in-depth site analysis in the creek area was recommended before actual construction of the pipeline in this zone with adjustments made in the field as necessary. TOP

Wetland Restoration in Broken Bow, Nebraska

Wetland Restoration Team Members: Kayleigh Peters (BSEN, Lincoln, NE), Danielle Moore (BSEN, North Platte, NE), Brent Hall (BSEN, Centerburg, OH)
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Dean Eisenhauer
Client: Darren Jack, WLA Consulting, Lincoln, NE
Year: Spring 2009

A commercial development is planned for a 25-acre tract near Broken Bow. This property contains a one-acre linear forested wetland that will be disturbed during construction and development. Since wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act of 1972, it is necessary to develop a mitigation plan to offset the impacts to the wetland. The final proposal included a wetland mitigation plan, hydrologic analysis of the design, vegetation plan, and a site grading plan for the development site. TOP

Orthman Manufacturing Narrow Transport Toolbar

Orthman Manufacturing Toolbar Team Members: Karoline Kastanek, (Ag Marketing and Ag Journalism, Wilber, NE), Andrew Schumacher (AGEN, Dalton, NE), Ryan Hillen (AGEN, Leigh, NE), and Ryan Hulme (AGEN, Cairo, NE)
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Roger Hoy
Client: Curt Rickerson, Orthman Manufacturing Company, Lexington, NE
Year: Spring 2009

Agricultural equipment that is too wide and large for rural roadways poses a severe risk to road users. A new stacking planter toolbar design that allows producers to achieve efficient and desired ground coverage that also adheres to state transport regulations was needed. A stacking planter toolbar is an agricultural implement with wing sections; when folded for transport, the wings are stacked side-by-side above the center section. This design implements a new linkage configuration to lift the wings above the center section, as well as new rotation points for the wing-lift system that have been newly developed. The toolbar was configured to be adaptable for different manufacturer’s systems. The project included economic analysis and marketing information. The end product is a complete toolbar design that will be built, tested, and eventually put into full-scale production by Orthman Manufacturing. The first prototype was on display at the 2009 Husker Harvest Days. TOP 

Achieving Compliance for Plant Water Discharge

Plant Water Discharge Team Members: Brent Hanson (BSEN, Kearney, NE), Shannon Killion (BSEN, Kearney, NE), Mike Classen (BSEN, Omaha, NE)
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Dennis Schulte
Client: John Miriovsky, Lincoln Water System, Lincoln, NE
Year: Spring 2009

In order to discharge to public water, every Nebraska business must apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit with the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The Lincoln Water System (LWS) needed renew their NPDES permit and implement new regulations in order to obtain the permit. This team assisted LWS in meeting regulation criteria in all areas of the NPDES permit. The primary contaminants focused on were iron, manganese, and chlorine at the Ashland facility. TOP

Constructing an Eco-Machine for Classroom Teaching

Eco-Machine Team Members: Travis Anderson (BSEN, Newman Grove, NE), Jessica Deck (BSEN, Sioux City, IA), David Mabie (BSEN, Lincoln, NE)
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Dennis Schulte
Client: Dr. Thomas Franti, Department of Biological Systems Engineering
Year: Fall 2008

The project objective was to design and construct a small-scale teaching wetland. The wetland demonstrates the biological nutrient removal processes of plants and bacteria. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon removal rates were calculated for this system. A theoretical uptake of 20% of contaminants was found using first-order batch reactor equations. Details describing layout, lighting, plant populations, capacity, portability, and storage of the Eco-Machine were specified. Estimates of nutrient uptake were made. The final prototype included accommodations for water flow, filtering, plant establishment, and lighting. TOP

Design for the 2008 Quarter-scale Tractor

Quarter Scale Tractor 08 Team Members: Grant Janousek (AGEN, Leigh, NE), Mark Tieszen (ME, Canistota, SD), Will Corman (AGEN, Hardy, NE)
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Roger Hoy
Client: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE)
Year: Fall 2008

Team members spent the fall semester on the conceptual design of the tractor. The goal was to have a fully designed tractor on paper before any construction began. The spring semester involved the actual construction of a garden-sized pulling tractor. ASABE sponsors an international design competition held in Peoria, IL, in which the tractor team competes against teams from other universities. This competition gives members a chance to incorporate their engineering skills into practical design experience. It also allows members to learn machining and fabricating skills as they construct their design. The experience from the Quarter-scale Tractor Design Competition is invaluable as members move into the engineering workplace. TOP


Bioenergy and Food Engineering

Automated Dilution System

Dilution System Team Members: Craig Beck (BSEN, Roca, NE), Brian Barnes (BSEN, Lincoln, NE), Ian Parsley (BSEN, Scottsbluff, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Deepak Keshwani
Client: Chao "Michael" Tai, UNL
Year: Spring 2013

The laboratory of Dr. Keshwani currently has a fed-batch bioreactor and analysis system for reading concentrations of sugars produced. The analyzer has a fixed range of analysis and the bioreactor is expected to produce concentrations that will exceed the analyzer's effective range. Our team was to develop an automated dilution system that takes the samples from the bioreactor, dilutes them into the effective analysis range for the analyzer, and then get the diluted sample back to the analyzer. TOP 

Standing Column Well for Geothermal Energy

Column Well Team Members: Tim Kinoshita (BSEN, Chapell, NE), Geoffrey Gross (BSEN, Firth, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Wayne Woldt
Client: Karl Schaphorst, Behlen/Aquaflow, Omaha, NE
Year: Spring 2012

The use of open loop (also known as groundwater) heat pumps is gaining popularity as a highly efficient mode of heat exchange in geothermal systems. The technology is slowly making its way to the Midwestern United States with a recent installation at Hershey Public Schools in Hershey, Nebraska, in 2009. The objective of this project was to design another major open loop heat pump system at St. Joseph’s Villa in David City. Design specifications include all major water well components including submersible pump, casing and screens, and piping. TOP 

Automated Weight Filling Mechanism

Weight Filling Team Members: Dianne Norris (BSEN, Cersco, NE), Danielle Smith (BSEN, Gering, NE), Ben Schudel (AGEN, North Loop, NE)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. David Jones
Client: Steven Weier, Pilot Plant Manager, UNL
Year: Spring 2012

A conceptual design was developed for the dairy pilot plant on East Campus. Currently, ice cream mixes are manually filled into polystyrene bags for ease of storage and preservation. The new system automatically dispenses product into each bog using load cells to monitor the fill weight and various valves to control product flow. The system is controlled by an executable LabVIEW program and is expected to increase productivity and efficiency of the pilot plant by reducing operator fatigue. TOP 

Logistics of Biomass Transport to Make Alternative Energy

Logistics of Biomass Transport Team Members: Drew Landgraf (AGEN, Kanawha, IA), Greg Boone (AGEN, Elk Creek), Marcus Kuhl (AGEN, Kearney)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Mike Kocher
Client: Confidential
Year: Spring 2011

Biomass is considered to be any type of organic material that can be utilized as an energy source. Some common biomass materials are switchgrass, corn stover, wood, and corn cobs. Corn cobs have been used as a biomass feedstock over the past 30 years, but on a very limited scale. The large available quantities and feasibility of transporting corn cobs makes them an attractive option for biomass energy. The design includes a redevelopment of a system based upon a proprietary equipment platform. A prototype of the design was constructed and tested. TOP 

Microbial Fuel Cell

Microbial Fuel CellTeam Members: Derek Wilson (BSEN, Bellevue), Emily Carpenter (BSEN, Lincoln), Chris Hanson (BSEN, Omaha)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. David Jones 
Client: Crystal Powers, Biological Systems Engineering, and Ashley Schmidt, World Energy Project
Year: Spring 2011

Microbial fuels cells (MFC) are novel, low-technology alternatives for electrical energy generation. MFC’s generate electricity by oxidizing organic matter using exoelectrogenic microorganisms which produce electrons that are ultimately captured and stored or routed through circuits. The goal of this project is to develop a MFC design and prototype that is low cost and transportable around Mali, West Africa, to charge small electrical devices in rural hospitals and clinics. This project will be completed in conjunction with the World Energy Project. The target cost is $300 and the target output is 950 mAh. TOP

Integrated Energy and Production Design

Integrated Energy Team Members: Daran Rudnick (BSEN, South Sioux City), Edel Victor (BSEN, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Kristine Seier (BSEN, Petersburg), Quentin Dudley (BSEN, Worthington, MN)
Faculty Consultant: Dr. Curt Weller
Client: Loren Isom, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Industrial Agricultural Products Center
Year: Spring 2011

The team completed a feasibility study and initial design steps for an integrated energy and production system incorporating a swine finishing operation, anaerobic digesters, and energy conversion facility, as well as a soybean crush facility and a biodiesel processing plant. The primary constraints were to limit interference with the existing 55,000-head hog facility located by Wolbach, Nebraska, and size all components to function together efficiently. The team proposed constructing six anaerobic digesters and using a gas engine to burn biogas for electricity production, utilizing waste heat from the engine for heating the digesters. The electricity generated from this system would be sufficient to power the existing farm, and the soybean extraction/extrusion process, in addition to a 600,000 gallon/year biodiesel production facility. TOP

Biomass Pickup

Biomass Pickup Team Members: Wes Cammack (AGEN, DeWitt, NE), Corey Smith (AGEN, Bertrand, NE), Wayne Jarecki (AGEN, Lindsay, NE ), Jared Koch (AGEN, Hartington, NE )
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Michael Kocher
Client: Claas of America, Inc.
Year: Spring 2010

Corn cobs have been focused on recently as a source of feedstock for biomass energy production. The current low cost, availability, and minimal use of cobs makes their value-added agricultural potential more attractive. This team worked to design a machine that would transfer the cobs from the fields to energy plants in a feasible manner. Separating the cobs from the stover, and compressing the bulk to make them easy to collect for shipping efficiently were some of the aspects of this design challenge considered by this team. Details of the project are not available due to mutual confidentiality agreements. TOP

Economic Feasibility of Zein Extraction from Ethanol DDGS

Ethanol DDGS Team Members: Peter Larson (BSEN, Sioux Falls, SD), Ben Carlson (AGEN, Genoa, NE), Laura Podany (BSEN, Clarkson, NE), Isaac Mortensen (AGEN, Curtis, NE)
Faculty Advisors: Dr. Curt Weller, Dr. Yiqi Yang
Client: Jake Johnson, UNL OTD, Dr. Yiqi Yang
Year: Spring 2008

Dry mill ethanol production leaves a by-product called Dry Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS). Zein, a protein in corn, is left in the DDGS. There are many applications for zein—from food coatings and films, to fibers—with the added bonus that zein is a natural and biodegradable alternative to synthetic materials. Removing the zein from DDGS, could increase the supply of this protein available for commercial uses. Dr. Yiqi Yang has developed an acidic extraction method of zein from DDGS. The project of this team was to scale up Dr. Yang’s process into a commercial-sized operation. TOP