June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
ABSTRACT Solar Powered Aquaponics: Modeling Real World Solutions through Engineering Technology
Corporations, cities and countries around the world are embracing the philosophy of sustainability. Sustainable thinking means creating plans that include economic viability, environmental protection with social and technological advances. Such a mind-set will help solve many of humanity’s complex and pressing environmental issues including global warming, increased population and resource demand while addressing the epidemics of poverty and obesity. At the University of Houston-Downtown we have created the Center for Urban Agriculture and Sustainability (CUAS) to address such problems through teaching, research and community outreach. One of the most active initiatives of this program is a summer Experiential Learning program in CUAS (EL CUAS) that has cross-disciplinary students work in teams to create a sustainable solution to a problem in our urban environment. In addition to taking two courses (Fundamentals of Sustainability, Renewable Energy Systems) students must to design, build and test their solution over the course of a summer.
This year one area of focus was the creation of one large solar-powered aquaponics system inside the UHD Sustainability Garden. Aquaponics is defined as a system that grows fish and plants hydroponically. Although such systems can produce a great deal of food in a small physical space they are criticized for using fossil fuel. This system relies on solar power. The UHD aquaponics system utilized two large recycled transport totes of 275 gallons which have been cut and converted to a two large tank system with flat growing beds. One tank will be for holding fish and the second tank will be for maintaining water levels. Water moves from the fish tank to the first gravel bed where red worms will be held to help breakdown waste. The first grow bed also has a bell siphon which empties into a second floating grow bed where greens will be grown. This multi-disciplinary program emphasizes important aspects of an education that will assist students in the real world. Majors in this program have included engineering technology, biology, chemistry, math, psychology and interdisciplinary studies. Students must master the language of other disciplines, work together to design and build a system and make sure the system meets the original goals set by the project. Such programs could be a model for the future, high-impact, cross-disciplinary direction of engineering technology education.
Wood, S. G., & Diaz, S. P., & Valencia, V., & Tzouanas, V., & Morano, L. D. (2019, June), Solar Powered Aquaponics: Modeling Real World Solutions through Engineering Technology Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33277
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