Clean Challenge semi-finalists Anne Phillip, a PSU alumna with a B.A. in Biology and fellow team members John Talik, Matthew Stewart and Taylor Rice, all students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, advanced into the next round of the competition with their idea to build a home aquaponics system.
Aquaponics combines hydroponics (growing plants in water) with aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) in order to achieve sustainable food production. This system of food production requires less water and fertilizer than regular gardening/farming methods. Phillip and the rest of the team plan on improving traditional aquaponics systems by introducing a software platform to control and optimize growing conditions to increase performance and yield.
With the development funds they received from the first round of the Clean Challenge, the team plans on designing and building a computer-controlled aquaponics system for home use. If widely employed, home aquaponics could eventually lead to lower food prices, water conservation, and the reduced need for fertilizers that introduce harmful chemicals into the ecosystem.
Authored by Shaun McGillis
Posted May 31, 2013