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Graywater Flow: Generating Sustainable Energy

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Student Projects in Physics Education, Engineering Physics and Physics Division (EP2D) Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics and Physics Division (EP2D)

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Paper Authors


Bala Maheswaran Northeastern University

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Bala Maheswaran, PhD
Northeastern University
367 Snell Engineering Center
Boston, MA 02115

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Sophie Ray

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Matthew Rock

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Dilyn McHugh

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Kyle Potts

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David Ian Hunter

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The climate doomsday clock is counting down rapidly, and we must quickly find solutions to generate green energy and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. The average American uses a lot of water each day. If we could harness energy from the runoff water, we could produce sustainable electricity from what would otherwise be wasted. A majority of the energy that humans use is produced by natural gas and coal, which damages the environment. Coal and gas are not sustainable resources and will eventually run out. They also produce greenhouse gasses and destroy the Earth through mining for gas and coal. Contrary to this, hydroelectric power does not hurt the environment as the energy from wasted water can be used to generate electricity. This also does not create further waste, unlike the greenhouse gasses produced from burning coal and oil.

We have designed a device intending to turn everyday runoff water into energy. Our problem was finding a way to conserve energy to advance towards a more environmentally friendly world. We observed a lot of runoff water from many different sources during the day, so we decided to construct a water wheel that could be placed under runoff water sources to harvest this excess water to use for energy. Our water wheel aims to provide all with a means to generate power from wastewater in their homes. When addressing the problem, we also accounted for socioeconomic factors, as a focal point of our design was availability and convenience. Thus, we arrived at a prototype that is: • Cheap and easy to build. • Relatively small and easy to install. • Interchangeable with most plumbing systems in bathrooms and kitchens, resizable would also account for this. • Environmentally conscious materials.

Our device is a water wheel that can be fitted onto many different types of pipes and produces a small amount of energy. We believe that with many of these within a building, we would be able to generate a reasonable amount of energy for utilization for any purpose.

Maheswaran, B., & Ray, S., & Rock, M., & McHugh, D., & Potts, K., & Hunter, D. I. (2023, June), Graywater Flow: Generating Sustainable Energy Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--43829

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