2021-2022: In collaboration with Clean Crop Technologies (CCT), this student team designed a system for gas separation and recycling within CCT’s food decontamination process. CCT uses proprietary cold atmospheric plasma technology to ionize a mixture of gases that in turn decontaminate food products. The goal of this project was to separate and recycle the key gases so as to reduce operating costs and environmental impact.
The team first reviewed current gas separation methods and defined key design requirements. The team chose sorption as the most viable separation method given material availability, cost, and scalability. After developing a conceptual design for a sorption system based on zeolites, the team built, refined, and tested a proof-of-concept prototype. The final prototype includes a dehumidification module, a zeolite chamber, separate adsorption and desorption arms, a vacuum, and multiple sensors to monitor flow rate, pressure, temperature, mass, and carbon dioxide concentration. The team delivered process flow diagrams, the bench-scale prototype, and recommendations for scaling up the system in CCT’s future work.