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Beer Brewing and the Environmental Engineer: “Tapping” into Experiential Learning

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count

22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32142

Download Count

2

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Paper Authors

biography

Kyle R. Murray United States Military Academy

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Kyle Murray is a Major and an Aviation Officer in the United States Army and an Instructor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 2007 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and graduated from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) with an M.S. in Environmental Engineering in 2017. His research interests include wastewater treatment technologies and microbiology as well as air pollution mitigation and control technologies. His current research focuses on engineering education in the field of environmental engineering. He teaches courses in Environmental Biological Systems, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering Technologies, and Environmental Chemistry. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Delaware.

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Benjamin Michael Wallen P.E. United States Military Academy

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Benjamin Wallen is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering, and he obtained an M.S. from the University of Missouri at Rolla in Geological Engineering in 2000, an M.S. from the University of Texas at Austin in Environmental Engineering in 2005, and a Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2016. He course directs and teaches Environmental Science for Engineers and Scientists, Environmental Engineering Technologies, and Advanced Individual Study I-II.

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Luke Plante United States Military Academy

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Luke Plante is a Captain in the United States Army and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 2008 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and graduated from Columbia University with an M.S. in Environmental Engineering in 2016. He teaches Environmental Biological Systems, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering Technologies, Introduction to Environmental Engineering, Advanced Individual Study I-II, Biochemical Treatment, and Officership.

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Kimberly Quell United States Military Academy

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Kimberly Quell is a Laboratory Technician in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. She is a 2010 graduate of SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry with a B.S. in Environmental Science and is a currently attending graduate school at Stevens Institute of Technology for an M.E. in Environmental Engineering. She is the lead laboratory technician for the Environmental Biological Systems course, the Environmental Science Curriculum, and the USMA Environmental Engineering Sequence Curriculum.

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Michael A. Butkus United States Military Academy

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Michael A. Butkus is a professor of environmental engineering at the U.S. Military Academy. His work has been focused on engineering education and advancements in the field of environmental engineering. His current research interests are in physicochemical treatment processes with recent applications in drinking water disinfection, lead remediation, sustainable environmental engineering systems, and contaminant transport. Dr. Butkus is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer and he is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Connecticut.

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Abstract

Second to water, beer may perhaps be the next most desirable beverage in the lives of countless environmental engineering students. But do they really understand the engineering and scientific principles behind beer making? While considerable effort has been put forth in academia to teach and explain the critical environmental process of fermentation, too many students are limited to examples and explanations contained within a course textbook. The US Military Academy commits to providing experiential learning opportunities that reach beyond traditional classroom instruction. Our Environmental Biological Systems Course (EV396) offers an opportunity for environmental engineers to achieve a deeper, more practical understanding and appreciation for biological systems within our environment. As part of the experiential learning process, EV396 requires students to successfully brew beer in a laboratory setting to enhance their understanding of microbial metabolic processes, disinfection principles, and aseptic techniques. This paper aims to highlight and explain the linkage between the complex process of alcoholic fermentation involved in beer brewing to the environmental engineering practice. Indeed, environmental engineers often face challenges where they must design and operate biological systems and apply engineering concepts similar to those integral to brewing beer, including: conventional wastewater management, microbial fuel cells, hazardous waste treatment and remediation, slow sand filtration, and disinfection. As part of this fermentation laboratory experience, students select the style of beer they wish to brew and exercise the engineered techniques required to brew a safe and refreshing product. Additionally, students are required to submit a detailed report demonstrating their ability to identify and evaluate key physiochemical and biochemical engineering processes. Calculations involve fermentation efficacy, specific gravity and yield, theoretical and actual ethanol content, and scaling from bench experiments to commercial production. The laboratory familiarizes students with engineering concepts, including substrates that serve as carbon and energy sources, methods for creating anaerobic reactors, and solid-liquid separation processes. The 5-point Likert scale, with 5 indicating greatest achievement, consistently shows students scoring greater than 4 on laboratory performance objectives, which link directly to the course and program student outcomes concerning experiential learning in the laboratory. Historical assessment and evaluation of these outcomes and the linkage to our environmental program criteria and ABET student outcomes are discussed in detail.

Murray, K. R., & Wallen, B. M., & Plante, L., & Quell, K., & Butkus, M. A. (2019, June), Beer Brewing and the Environmental Engineer: “Tapping” into Experiential Learning Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32142

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