Mason Cup Winners Announced
Emerging Leaders in Solar Energy hosted a “Solar Powered Challenge” integrated with a course for first year engineers at Queen’s University. The Solar Powered Challenge encouraged the Queen’s students to use solar power to provide a struggling region in the world assess to clean drinking water. The students were challenged to create a prototype that would be affordable for the local residents and need limited maintenance.
There were three groups of five students who participating in the challenge. Each group chose a region in need and tailored a low cost filtration system using an application of solar power to the region. At the end of the term three unique and innovative systems had been created. The projects were very well received by the engineering faculty, so such so that one of the three groups was offered a prestigious award, the Mason cup. The Mason Cup is given in recognition of a tremendous design process and solution in the course. With over 750 contenders for the Mason Cup, the award is highly regarded.
The Mason cup winners, Chris Little, Sadie Poste, Annabelle Corsi-Johnson, Ramiro Enriquez, Marnus Coetsee, rose to the challenge and created a portable filtration system that would be effective in the African country of Zimbabwe. The solution involved the use of three separate filtration devices along with a solar radiation tank that uses solar energy to disinfect contaminated water. The device would begin to operate when the water source is poured through a rapid sand filter composed of sand and limestone which would filter out large particulate matters in the water. Following is a settling tank, orange peels were used along with alum which would react with harmful chemicals in the water. Next, an activated carbon filter using the process of chemical absorption to trap molecules in the pore structure of the carbon was applied. The final aspect of the design involved a solar radiation tank which used reflection of solar rays to obtain a water temperature necessary for bacterial disinfection.
The group created a plot which displays the length of time the water should be disinfected in solar radiation tank depending on the season. The team also considered the ease of use, the device safety, the affordability and the use of local materials during the design process. The Mason cup winners took the project beyond the initial expectations of the challenge. The provided solution is a stepping stone in the right direction for solar power awareness and universal clean water accessibility.