ENVE Students Claim Second Place in 2021 WERC Competition
Congratulations to the Cal Poly team of environmental engineering students for placing second at the 31st annual Waste-management Education Research Consortium (WERC) Environmental Design competition. Team members Sabrina Cegielski, Angela Ceja, Page Dionne, Teresa Godoy, Sara Henkemeyer, Anmol Kaur, Dulce Rodriguez Rivera, Joshua Schipper, Gracie Wong, and team leader Julia Broman competed at the virtual competition held from April 11-14.
WERC is a nation-wide environmental design competition where students take the lead as consulting engineers. Teams are tasked with solving real-world problems, administrated by industry partners and government agencies. The competition consists of a research report, oral presentation, and bench-scale demonstrations..
The Cal Poly team was tasked with designing a destruction technology for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of emerging contaminants. PFAS are known as the 'forever chemicals' due to their resistance to break down. Their prominence in a variety of products presents a problem as they contaminate drinking water.
Cal Poly environmental engineering students developed a two-step destruction system which utilized enzymes from fungi, followed by a process called electrochemical oxidation. The system operates to safely break down the contaminants achieving EPA's drinking water health advisory of below 70 ppt.