Former Red Deer Polytechnic students receive provincial honour for solar-powered composter project
01, Dec, 2021
EDMONTON, Dec. 1, 2021 – A former team of Red Deer Polytechnic (RDP) engineering technology students has received provincial recognition for developing a concept for a solar-powered composter.
The former team of Trevor Neufeld, Josiah Kure, Tyrell Mappin, and Brant Dunn has been honoured as a provincial finalist for the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta’s (ASET) Capstone Project of the Year Award.
Featuring automated agitation, heating and ventilation, the solar-powered composter is intended to provide hands-free, year-round composting. It’s powered by a 355-watt photovoltaic solar panel mounted on the composter’s roof. The solar panel charges two 12-volt 40 Ah batteries that run the motor, fan and heater. The composter’s housing design has two-inch XPS rigid insulation, and is internally heated to allow for winter composting.
A 55-gallon barrel containing the compost is mounted on rollers that are rotated by a 12-volt DC motor, using a chain drive system. The assembly rotates automatically every three days. A hatch in the barrel’s side allows for loading and unloading of compost.
An Arduino Mega 2560 microcontroller automates the control system for the composter, including timing the automation and ventilation, and maintaining the temperature within the housing. The automated composting process is started by a toggle switch.
The composter is aerated by a fan, which turns on every day to ventilate the housing. The heater is activated when the composter’s internal temperature drops below 1 C.
“This is the second green project we’ve seen presented by Red Deer Polytechnic students for this set of Capstone Project of the Year Award finalists,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh. “It’s original, well-researched and has real-world application.”
The former RDP team’s project is one of seven finalists named by ASET for the Capstone Project of the Year Award. The winning project will be announced later this year.
In addition to handing out the Capstone Project of the Year Award to deserving engineering technology students, the ASET Education and Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships, bursaries and educational funding to enhance and support the education of students pursuing engineering technology studies.
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 16,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET