Grand Challenge

Center Spotlight- The Water Center and Chemical Engineering Students Work to Solve a Rural Problem

Water Center student at Red SiloThe Water Center is currently collaborating with a local business to solve a serious problem in rural environments – the over-saturation of Nitrogen in fish hatcheries! Trout fishing is a popular sport in Tennessee, and due to its need for trout stocking, thousands of Rainbow Trout are produced in State Fish Hatcheries every year. However, hatchery managers have recently observed that some hatchery water sources are becoming super-saturated with Nitrogen, which is unhealthy and stressful for the fish and needs to be reduced.

Currently, Dr. Holly Stretz is leading a Capstone Chemical Engineering course in which three student teams are looking at ways to improve the Nitrogen removal process using inexpensive column diffusers. The Water Center is providing the equipment to the teams, who will investigate strategies to make the diffusers work more efficiently and effectively. In addition to the support of the Water Center, the Red Silo Brewery is providing work space and production units to help set up the experiment, which will include replicating hatchery conditions through creating saturated environments inside kegs filled with spring water! Stay tuned for updates as the student teams, the Water Center, and the community work together to solve this problem. Wings up!


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