The REFRESCH Integration (REFRESCH-IT) team is focused on researching, designing and implementing a variety of REFRESCH innovations within the food, energy, water (FEW) domain that could be used in multiple socio-economic and geographic settings around the world. Modular technologies and methods of integration are being developed that can be adapted to various settings through processes of redesign that deliver a contextually relevant and desirable product. The individuals comprising this team are now focused on two main projects.
A core graduate student driven group is currently developing a conceptual framework for an integrated, modular FEW system that can operate off-grid and recycle the majority of its water usage requirements. A recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) prototype being developed by the Aquaculture Systems group will help test fish growth in brackish water, using multiple plug-and-play subsystems involving algae, aeroponics and biochar. In conjunction, the Urban Systems group is involved in modeling the benefits of source-separating toilets as a potential method to mitigate excess nutrient flow into wastewater treatment plants and water bodies. REFRESCH graduate students are from a variety of disciplines including architecture, chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering (design sciences), applied physics, and the school of natural resources and the environment.
A second multidisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students from within the disciplines mentioned above are consulting with a team of senior mechanical engineering students to build a modular shrimp aquaculture system. Optimization with respect to energy usage (through off-grid systems and reduction in heating/aerations requirements) and water efficiency (through filtration and evaporation reduction) is planned.