Innovative Research Proposal Winners for 2017/2018

Join us in congratulating this year’s winners:

Ashokkumar Sharma, Engineering Technology
Sustainable production of renewable fuels
This is a research-based project aimed at using University’s dry solid waste such as papers, card boards and plastics. Main goal of the project is to produce syngas (CO2+H2) fuel that can be used to run a generator. The research component includes determining the reactor performance. In order to asses the performance of the gasifier, temperature, pressure, gas and composition will be measured. Success of the project will be implemented in two ways.
(i) Introduce this topic in existing thermal system design course where instructor already discusses the important of energy conservation.
(ii) Develop an elective course for all engineering and engineering technology programs with an emphasis on sustainability in energy conservation and efficiency.
This project can also demonstrate how it is possible to utilize the waste to generate energy instead of recycling.

John Czarnecki, Earth Sciences
Storm-drain trash barrier
Much of the floatable trash entering curbside storm drains in Little Rock ultimately ends up in Fourche Creek, home to 25 percent of all fish species in Arkansas. The city of Little Rock includes 1,800 acres of bottom-land hardwood forests within the Fourche Creek bottoms area. Unfortunately, this area receives regular inputs of floatable trash during flood events. This trash negatively impacts sustainable water quality, ecosystems, and recreation in Fourche Creek bottoms. Prevention of trash entering this vital resource will lead to sustainability in these three areas.
Results from the project will be presented at the Little Rock Sustainability Summit in 2019.

Stephen Grace, Biology
Installation of a low-cost, portable cold frame greenhouse at the UA Little Rock Campus Garden
This project will produce positive long-term impacts in terms of increased capacity for campus food production as well as opportunities for curricular innovation. For the past two years, the Campus Garden has partnered with the Trojan Food Pantry to provide fresh produce to the campus community to address food insecurity at UA Little Rock. Installation of a cold frame will enable us to strengthen this partnership by providing food to the Pantry throughout most of the year. This project will also enable the development of laboratory exercises and service-learning opportunities within curricula in Biology, Earth Sciences, Environmental Health Sciences, Sociology, Applied Communication, and other departments. Students will learn fundamental organic and sustainable agricultural production principles and experience first-hand the risks and rewards of organic, local food production. Instructors will have increased opportunity to provide students with experiential learning and greater exposure to the curriculum beyond their class. This enhanced, year-round farm operation will be showcased by providing tours during annual events such as UA Little Rock Sustainability Day and Earth Day and by disseminating information on the Campus Garden website.

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