Pictured above is the E-Bike Kit developed by first-year SEE students.

First-year SEE students apply engineering skills to solve sustainability problems

April 14, 2022

By James Conn

First-year students, from the School of Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) in SEE 111 - Integrated Energy Solution 1, split into eight groups comprised of four to five team members to apply the engineering design process to develop a solution to a sustainability problem of their choice. The groups convened in the Capstone Design Lab on SFU Surrey campus last week to present their projects. The groups brought with them enthusiasm as they prepared to present their projects in front of the audience. 

“The projects and students are inspiring,” says SEE lecturer Molly McVey who taught the course and oversaw the project showcase. “I’m really proud of the students and how they channeled their passion for sustainability into these projects using the engineering design process.”

“They had to reach out of their comfort zones, work as a team, and jump into these projects very quickly - maybe before they felt comfortable doing so.”

Each group’s project exhibited both creativity and inquisitiveness as they presented their projects. The aim behind these projects was to apply the design process to solve issues around harvesting, storage, transmission and use of energy while taking the ecological, social and economic impact into consideration. Each group member relied on their individual skills and knowledge, while also collaborating with their peers to bring their projects into fruition. Students started the term by identifying a problem, then working through the design process to end up with a physical prototype of their design.

Learn more about the projects below:

Student Project Showcase

Solar-Charger by SEE’s Get Degrees:

Team members: Alexandra Szilagyi, Amy Drysdale, Justin Ocampo and Scott McCormick.

This project focuses on the development of an off-grid sustainable solar charger. Its design was based off the most recent iteration of the iPhone charger. As the name of the project indicates, the charger uses the sun to supply power. As grid-based power is not always available and uses unsustainable materials, off-grid solar power offers a solution to this issue as an alternative power source.

Electric Household Composter by Group 8:

Team members: Ashir Waseem, Joshua Yau, Michael Chen, Nathaniel King and Tianna Sequeira.

This project aims to convert food waste into compost that can re-enter the earth’s soil as opposed to a landfill. Food scrap disposal is time consuming and leads to food waste. A substantial amount of British Columbia’s landfill waste is made up of food that does not get composted. Therefore, this project aims to make a household system that streamlines the composting process for end users. 

Power Preserver by Power RANJAs:

Team members: Ani Beaubien, Anna Lamontagne, Nalyssa Runge, Jay Vyas and Rowan Arkell.

The aim of this project is to develop a household voltage sensing device to reduce unnecessary consumption of power. Have you ever left you phone in the charger beyond one hundred percent? People often leave their electronics plugged into electrical outlets sapping up power that goes to waste. These instances add unnecessary costs to people’s electric bill and wastes energy. To mitigate this, the project aims to switch off the current of energy that devices receive when it detects a certain voltage.

Personal Vertical Farm Design by The Smart Dimensions:

Team members: Annelise Jenson, DJ Cuthbert, Keira Lai, Victor Muresan and Yan Ning Tang. 

The aim of this project is to provide homeowners a product in their homes that facilitates sustainable living by allowing people to farm and grow their own food. Due to bulk purchasing of food products, a large amount of food does not get consumed and goes to waste. This project seeks to transcend traditional outdoor farms through its ease of use, convenience and control which helps to promote sustainable living and reduces food waste through making farming more accessible.

Hydro-Turbo by The Fourth Group:

Team members: Amrit Brar, Clara Park, Elliot Roy, George Pavlov and Yeji Kang.

The aim of this project is to generate electricity using a renewable hydro energy source. Other sources of renewable power generation can be inconsistent such as solar and wind. Since British Columbia has an abundance of water, a small-scale hydro turbine can generate a consistent source of clean energy on a small scale. This project is portable, lightweight, durable and inexpensive to make. The idea is to provide a small scale, personal hydro energy source for outdoor enthusiasts and remote locations. 

E-Bike Kit by SUS-E:

Team members: Andrew Nathan, Ethan Stiller, Gabriel Rubio, Jordan Takama and, Stephen Tran.

The aim of this project is to develop a budget friendly and reliable electric bike converter kit. In Canada, the transportation sector makes up a substantial portion of greenhouse gas emissions. This project showcases how a sustainable transportation option like electric bikes can massively contribute to reducing gas, power and energy usage required to operate most cars, trucks and buses.

Automated Garbage Sorting and Disposal System Group-7, Mashed Potatoes:

Team members: Ken Chisholm, Marlon Buchanan, Mohammed Niamul Haq and Obayda Tayeh. 

This project addresses the buildup of organic waste in landfills. This phenomenon leads to greenhouse gas pollution and land destruction. Furthermore, landfills make up a substantial amount of emissions. Improper disposal and sorting of organic waste exacerbate this issue. This project sorts garbage into the right bin for proper recycling or disposal.

Scoot by Solidworkers:

Team members: Aiden Green, Brandon Tong, Julia Kuromi and Lona Le.

The aim of this project is to develop an app that is integrated with the transit system to help minimize the environmental impact of public transportation by removing the need for a physical plastic Compass Cards. Considering that these cards are not recyclable due to the chip contained in them, this app offers a more environmentally sustainable solution. The Scoot app manages users’ Compass Cards and contains bus and SkyTrain schedules. The app is convenient and reduces plastic waste.