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Top Four In GCSP Global Summit

Interdisciplinary team places top 4 in competition organized by the National Academy of Engineering

Trash2Gas, an interdisciplinary team of six undergraduate engineering researchers mentored by mechanical engineering assistant professor Daniel Robertson have had their fair share of success over the past six months.

Winning over $5,000 at the Idaho Pitch Competition and securing an $18,000 grant from the Idaho Space Grant Consortium, the team plans to bring anaerobic digestion into local sixth through 12th grade classrooms.

Anaerobic digestion is the process of turning organic waste products like food and grass clippings into usable biogas and liquid fertilizer. The biogas can in turn be used to generate electricity or run a BBQ grill.

By having a digester in the classroom, students can literally see the process take place, bringing life to a curriculum focused on sustainable practices and waste management. The planned digester would include devices to measure the biogas output, so students could see the energy they are creating.

The interdisciplinary team of engineering students includes Anson Lunstrum, Kaitlyn Lindholm, Devin Richards, Kenny Sheffler, Holly Terrill and Bishal Thapa.

After competing in a nation-wide entrepreneurship competition, they were selected by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering to represent the United States at the International Grand Challenges Summit 2019. The summit was held in London and was jointly organized by the National Academies of Engineering from the United Kingdom, China, and the United States.

The event convened inspirational world leaders with the next generation of engineers and change-makers to build creative collaborations and solve the grand challenges facing our future world of 10 billion people. As part of the summit, students were split up into mixed country teams which included students from China and the UK and participated in a 48-hour hackathon focused on developing sustainable solutions to Engineering Grand Challenges. The students performed well with two of the four who were in attendance making it into the final rounds of the competition.

“Students put their skills against top students from around the world and worked with those same students to develop solutions to engineering challenges facing society,” said Robertson. “These are the kinds of doors that a Vandal education can open. It’s more than just textbooks and a high GPA, it’s about being a force for good to change our world for the better.”

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