Mechanical engineering students enjoyed a great experience at the July 30-August 1, 2015 IEEE Conference on Technologies for Sustainability, held at Weber State University.  Pictured, Ph.D. candidates Thomas Tran and Carlo Bianchi presented their papers, while B.S./M.S. undergraduate Joseph Melville competed and took Second Place in the Student Poster Competition.

In his poster entitled, “Design of Bench Scale Model for Pressure Retarded Osmosis,” Melville explains that Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO) is a process which can recover salinity gradient energy.  PRO is an emissions free process, and could theoretically produce power continuously. In Utah, the power potential of the Great Salt Lake has been estimated to be 400 MW, which could power about the number of homes in Salt Lake County.

Melville’s bench scale system is constructed to withstand corrosion from salt water and up to 1000 PSI. The theoretical model predicts values well above experimental results, and barely below the theoretical model without fouling of the PRO system. Melville’s winning poster will be placed on public view at the Salt Lake City Library.

To learn more about this and similar research please visit Dr. Smith’s Site-Specific Energy Systems Laboratory.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah is committed to providing students with broad-based, rigorous and progressive education. By combining state-of-the-art facilities with renowned faculty, the department provides an education that gives students the necessary skills to become the next generation of innovators.