Description: C:\Users\Eric Tolo\Pictures\AZ LOGO.JPGWERC

Client Information:  Dr. Wilbert Odem –


Team Information:


Team Name: Alpha-Zulu Solutions


Team Members and Contact Information:                                                  

                Brandon Curtis –

                Brandon Giardino –

                Chris Livingston –

                Marc Miller –

                Amanda Shapter –

                Eric Toloskiewich –


Description: C:\Users\bnb\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\2C90101C\WERC Team.JPG

From left: Eric Toloskiewich, Brandon Giardino, Brandon Curtis, Marc Miller, Chris Livingston, Amanda Shapter



Project Description


Due to large volumes of water treatment by sea vessels, using the Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration processes, New Mexico State University has proposed a project to prolong the RO membrane life by improving the current pretreatment process. The current pretreatment process uses a disposable cartridge 5-micron filter or a 20-micron and 3-micron filter, in series respectively. A 500-micron filter initially treats the flow. The average lifetime of the current filter is 4 days, requiring 4 hours of work to replace. The sea vessels are looking to increase the life span of the filter to 4 months and lower the amount of storage space to 100 cubic feet. To prolong RO membrane life and achieve 40% RO recovery, the desired particle size before RO treatment is 0.1-microns. The system may not exceed 3 times greater than the current systems size and must use no more in energy than 10 percent of the RO process. The system must be able to handle 30,000 gallons per day (GPD). The new RO pretreatment process may also be interchangeable to on-land desalination plants and the concept of Go Green should be taken into consideration.


Scope of Work:


·         Background Research

Members of the team will conduct research on current methods for the treatment of seawater for potable use. The scope of the research will include existing RO systems on sea-going vessels, as well as land based RO treatment plants. In addition, the research will identify new and untested design alternatives.

·         Selection of Initial Design

Potential designs will be compared by the team to select the optimal design, which may use a series of commercially available technologies. Input from technical advisors will be used to eliminate designs with problems, such as high construction costs or impractical sizes. The treatment process will be documented with schematics and CAD drawings to illustrate the design.

·         Evaluation of Design Alternatives

Using stakeholder input, advice from technical advisors, and background research information, the team will identify designs capable of meeting the WERC criteria. The criteria dictate the design must:

•      Use no more than 6-9 horsepower

•      Be no more than 3 times larger than the cartridge filter system, or about 36 cubic feet

•      Eliminate use of hazardous chemicals while the vessel is at sea

•      Use less than 100 cubic feet for stored items

•      Require no significant maintenance for at least 4 months

•      Deliver water to the RO with particle diameter less than 0.1 ΅m

•      Deliver at least 75,000 gallons per day to the RO

·         Construction of Initial Design

A bench scale model of the selected design will be constructed to validate the design and provide test data. The physical model will be scaled appropriately to treat 10 gallons of seawater in 30 to 40 minutes. Additionally, the components will represent a scale to allow construction of a full sized system aboard a sea vessel. The model will implement physical, chemical, or biological treatments to meet the goal of removing particles over 0.1 micron in diameter.

·         Design Modifications

The model will be modified to meet the goals. The modifications may include a complete redesign or small adjustments to pressure, filter size, or flow rates of the model.

·         Model Testing & Data Collection

With preliminary construction of the bench model complete, testing will begin to evaluate the performance of the design. Testing will consist of mixing seawater, treating the seawater with the bench model, and analyzing the resulting water characteristics to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. Tests include turbidity, suspended solids concentration, pH, and salinity. Each test will be performed according to Standard Methods guidelines. Data quality will be ensured by use of multiple samples, blanks, and the use of proper lab practice. The test results will be used to evaluate the design for improvement. Testing will also be used to estimate the longevity of components of the system with extended contact with seawater. The goal of the longevity testing is to guarantee at least a four month period between significant maintenance.

·         Analysis of Results

The results of the fully functioning model will be used to determine the longevity of the pretreatment system. The longevity results will be important to determine the viability of a four month time span between significant maintenance periods. The evaluation of the results will indicate the effectiveness of the design for implementation.

·         Documentation Development

The documentation deliverable consists of a written report detailing the team’s proposed solution. The report will identify the tasks, describe the full-scale design, provide bench model test results, give consideration of the waste generation of the design, and give a technical evaluation of the treatment process. The report will also include a detailed selection process with cost/benefit analysis, evaluation criteria, and screening protocol. A discussion of the advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of the selected treatment system, as well as other options, will be included. Other information in the report will provide potential sterilization methods, reference sources, safety issues associated with the process, and a marketing strategy appropriate for distribution of the technology.

·         Competition Testing

The final stage of the project will culminate with a presentation of the design by Alpha-Zulu Solutions at the WERC Environmental Design Competition during the week of April 1, 2012 in Las Cruses, New Mexico. The competition will consist of three distinct portions. A 15-minute oral presentation on the selected treatment system will be given by the team on April 2. The presentation consists of 25% of the total score. The second portion of the contest will be a bench scale model demonstration worth 30% of the total score. Finally, a poster presentation will accompany the bench scale demonstration, and comprises 10% of the total score.

Each portion of the competition will be prepared well in advance of the competition to allow time for the team to review and perfect the operation of the treatment systems and oral presentation. The goal of the team will be to provide only the highest quality of engineering and documentation for each portion of the competition.

·         Client Report

The team at Alpha-Zulu Solutions will also prepare a comprehensive written report for the client, Dr. Wilbert Odem. The report will include all deliverables listed in previous sections, including drawings, test data, meeting minutes and agendas, communications documents, lab notebook data, and designs for a full-scale treatment operation. A presentation will be prepared for the client, in addition to a poster describing the basic functions of the pretreatment system.




WERC, which stands for Waste-management Education and Research Consortium, is involved in environmental education and technology development.  Their mission is to develop human resources and technologies needed to address environmental issues.  More information can be found at: