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Gloucestershire Business News

County apprentices runners up in national competition

Apprentices from Renishaw, representing Gloucestershire College and University of West of England (UWE) Bristol, were named runners up in the Engineers Without Borders competition.

The Engineering for People Design Challenge encourages individuals to broaden their awareness of the social, environmental and economic implications of their engineering solutions.

The product design and development engineering degree apprentices were up against 1,339 teams, made up of nearly 8,000 students from 32 different universities from across the UK and Ireland.

The UWE team came up with a design for the implementation of biodigesters and oxidation ponds in Lobitos and Piedritas.

The team said: "In Lobitos and Piedritas there is a serious sanitation problem. We have designed a system that is comprised of multiple biodigesters in combination with oxidation ponds.

"All sanitation waste from the town will be plumbed through this system and will be turned into usable by-products such as clean drinking water, solid and liquid fertiliser and building materials.

"This is achieved through an aerobic microbial reaction within the biodigester which is catalysed by our innovative air diffusion system. This reaction breaks the sewage into a clear effluent and a sludge. The sludge is then removed from the bottom of the biodigester and dried for use as fertiliser or building materials.

"The water, once processed, can also be removed for use as underground fertiliser, in an irrigation system, or can be plumbed to an oxidation pond where it will be further processed by bacteria, resulting in drinking water.

"We propose the installation of three biodigesters in Lobitos and one in Piedritas and plan to renovate the old oxidation ponds which will be sufficient for the town in its current state and its future. The maintenance required by this system is minimal and low cost, and installation is simple. Our solution will solve the towns' sanitation problem and will produce by-products that aid the community in other areas that also desperately need help."

The judges said it was "A practical solution which certainly met the social needs of the community."

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