The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Material and Energy Recovery Division (MER), selected two City Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology students to receive the prestigious ASME-MER undergraduate research scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic year. Ye Htet Lynn was awarded a $4,000 scholarship and Christopher Amoroso was awarded a $2,000 scholarship. Lynn and Amoroso conducted research on how to convert waste to energy with City Tech Professor Masato Nakamura, Department of Mechanical Engineering Technology, in his Energy and Environmental Simulation Lab (EESL). The result of their research was a design for a combustion chamber used in waste-to-energy (WTE) power plants.
Usually garbage in New York City is recycled, but unrecyclable waste is burned in order to recover energy, to reduce solid waste size for saving a landfill space, and to maintain a good sanitation level. Tackling real-world engineering challenges, Lynn and Amoroso analyzed size segregation of municipal solid waste on a moving grate in a combustion chamber. They built a physical model of a combustion chamber, which calculates how solid wastes travel during combustion processes in a simulation model developed by Professor Nakamura.
This new design of a combustion chamber will reduce the costs of construction, operation, and maintenance of WTE power plants. Due to its simple structure and low cost, combustion chamber can be used in developing countries.
Waste-to-energy power plants help reduce solid waste dumping in landfills that emit a large amount of methane due to the biodegradation from accumulated layers of wastes and soil. The methane emission is one of the major greenhouse gases causing global climate change, so waste management, using both recycling and WTE technologies, contributes to a sustainable society.
ASME announced the scholarship recipients at an award dinner at the Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology (WTERT) Conference, Columbia University, New York City, on October 9. In addition to the scholarships, Lynn and Amoroso also received a one-year ASME membership. Their research will be presented at the 2015 North America Waste-To-Energy Conference in Florida next spring and published as proceedings.
“Our research group, EESL, focuses on the topics of renewable energy and environmental engineering through experimental and mathematical work. The students had spent the summer on WTE research with me, and I was happy to recommend them for this research scholarship,” says Nakamura, who was a recipient of the ASME-MER research scholarship when he was a student at Columbia University. “This chain of research and education is good for our group and I believe that competency in research is an important skill not only for success in college but also in the industry as an engineer.”
ASME’s Materials and Energy Recovery Division encourages research and development that will advance the practice of sustainable waste management in the U.S. and abroad; and improve processes for maximum recovery of materials and energy from solid wastes. ASME’s mission is to serve diverse global communities by advancing, disseminating and applying engineering knowledge for improving the quality of life, and communicating the excitement of engineering.
ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world.