The Faculty of Engineering (FE) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) submitted four projects supervised by Dr. Ghnatios and Dr. Kassem (Asthma Device Calibration), Dr. Metni (Shotgun Cartilage Recycling Machine- CARL), Dr. Bou Mosleh and Dr. Keyrouz (Vertical Axis Wind Turbine- VAWT), and Mrs. El-Turky (Internet of Trees- IO Tree), which were selected for the LIRA Industrial Oriented Project Funding and some other industrial partners on May 15, 2018.
The teams were:
- Asthma Device Calibration: Pamela Chaaya, Bedouin Sassiya;
- CARL Machine: Joy-Najem Elkhoury, Joseph Katmarji, Charbel Eid;
- VAWT: Ramy Nemr, Joe Khalil; and
- IO Tree: Christina Chaccour.
An interview was conducted with each of the teams to learn more about the projects and the application process.
1. Please give us more details about the projects.
Asthma Device Calibration
According to WHO, three hundred million people suffer from asthma worldwide with two hundred and fifty thousand annual deaths attributed to this disease. The number will grow by more than one hundred million by 2025. Children are the most affected by this disease and the percentage might reach sixty. According to Dr. Ibrahim Janahi, associate professor of clinical pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and head of pediatric pulmonology section at HamadMedical Corp. (HMC), more than ten percent of children in the Gulf area (twenty percent in Qatar) between the age of six and fourteen have asthma. Although pollution acts as a trigger for asthma symptoms, other asthma triggers include dust (sandstorms), smoking, pollen, and respiratory infections, such as the cold or flu. This disease is a public health problem in both developed and developing countries. On the other hand, the majority of devices used to measure the respiratory vital capacity by the asthma patients are mechanical or digital. Patients use these devices multiple times per day to manage their disease. These devices cannot be one hundred percent accurate after multiple measurements. Dr. Abdallah Kassem and myself submitted a proposal to LIRA to partially fund the project titled. ‘Asthma Device Calibration,’ which was accepted. Moreover, the proposed project suggests a design and manufacturing of a prototype that can verify the asthma device accuracy through digital and analog hardware circuits, software applications, and a mechanical flowmeter system.
Twenty-five million shotgun cartridges are sold every year to hunters and enthusiasts and end up piled in the Lebanese forest as solid waste. This waste consists of a mix of decaying plastic and brass causing major damage to the Lebanese ecosystem. The goal is to create a system that is space, energy, and human-friendly (CARL machine) and one that can recycle the empty shells after their removal.
CARL is a compact machine grouping two recycling stages: shredding and separation of plastic from brass. While the shredding is a straightforward application, separation needs extra care in design to ensure a low margin of error in the end product. The best way under the imposed constraints (financial, technical, and time) is the sink-float separation. This method relies on the inherent properties of the shredded particles, especially density. Using water as working fluid, plastic particles float while brass particles sink. And CARL takes care of the rest.
CARL received the maximum LIRA funding grant of three thousand U.S. dollars given its potential and usefulness to the Lebanese community. Moreover, CARL got an endorsement from the UNDP, Love Lebanon project, that agreed to cover the remaining funds needed to deliver a complete, working machine by the end of October 2018.
Our aim in this work is to reach an optimum design for a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) for urban applications, which will help reduce the need for electrical energy from the standard power plants; hence, decreasing the load while providing a green solution for generations to come. We are also integrating solar PV panels in our design to increase the electrical energy provided by the turbine and rendering it useful in sunny, low wind conditions. The PV panels will be installed on the blades of the turbine as well as on the tower holding the blades in place. The CFD simulations will be conducted and used to predict the effect of this integration on the efficiency of the turbine. To validate our results, irradiation and wind tunnel experiments will be carried out on a 3D-printed prototype with PIV technology to visualize and validate the flow properties and to measure, analyze and benchmark the maximum output power of the novel embedded solar-wind system.
Numerous designs and implementation of vertical-axis wind turbines exist today, most of which aim to maximize power production by optimizing blade shape aerodynamics. Nevertheless, while a large number of PV systems exist today with constantly improving conversion efficiency, very few are those systems combining both solar and wind solutions in a single product. The hybrid two-in-one solar wind-turbine solution proposed in this work provides a compact innovative solution for renewable power generation while maximizing surface area utilization, maximizing output power, and consequently minimizing the overall system cost for changing solar and wind conditions.
The IO Tree project is a system designed as a network of smart traps: able to detect, capture, and warn the farmer of the presence of the Mediterranean fruit fly. This system will allow farmers to apply the right dosage of pesticides at the right time, in order to reduce the use of pesticides and improve the quality of agricultural production.
2. Can you walk us through the whole process?
The request for proposal was launched by LIRA in February 2018. We suggested the afore-mentioned project to senior students in the electrical engineering and the mechanical engineering departments, which they gladly embraced as their senior project. Later on, under the supervisors’ observation, NDUers wrote the proposal and submitted it to LIRA. Following peer review, LIRA accepted to fund the proposed projects.
Moreover, given this support, better results is expected to be achieved given the hard work, perseverance, and precision while designing and implementing those projects. Furthermore, accomplishing the afore-mentioned projects through the LIRA framework will be their gateway to the industry to earn invest-worthy status.
3. What role did NDU play and what did the students gain out of this unique experience?
Asthma Device Calibration
NDU put Dr. Abdallah Kassem in the same space to share ideas. Moreover, the dean of the Faculty of Engineering (FE) at NDU was considered as one of the four reviewers of the projects.
Students gained much from this experience, from reading a request for proposals and assisting in writing one to celebrating the acceptance. Moreover, students were given the opportunity to meet with the industrial organizers and ministry representatives, including the Lebanese Minister of Industry Dr. Hussein el-Hajj Hassan. This unique experience does not end by being awarded the fund since students will have to schedule a project, maintain a time schedule, and deliver a working prototype to a national competition that promises valuable awards.
Other than the technical part, this process helped students deliver their proposal and preliminary design on time; they learned the fundraising process and what it incorporates in terms of time schedule, detailed budgeting, and communication skills.
Students have unrestricted access to the Faculty’s lab facilities in which they have, still, and will be using to build and test their VAWT. In addition, the department’s faculty members, and especially myself, their advisor, and Dr. Fakherdine Keyrouz (EEN department) are helping students design and build the device. In addition, they get to meet students and faculty members from other universities as well as professional engineers in their respective fields during the LIRA ceremonies. This experience will enhance their knowledge by sharing best practices and getting additional help where and if needed.
NDU provided the financial and technical support for this project. Students gained experience in electronics design, communication networks and Internet of Things (IoT), public speaking, and social entrepreneurship.