Ganesh Balasubramanian, Mechanical Engineering; Co-PIs: Brian Slocum, Wilbur Powerhouse Design Labs, and Don Morris, Environmental Sciences
This project aims to provide income opportunities for women in a partnering local community (Malabon, Metro Manila, Philippines) by building a community-based, micro-recycling facility. Now in year four of the project, the team has made some real progress in narrowing down an affordable group of technologies and assessing the viability of plastic as a building material. The focus in the upcoming year of the project will be to finalize a design for a construction brick, prototype a method for manufacturing at scale, and further assess the market opportunities in the Philippines. Through this project, women in the community will be manufacturing up-cycled products themselves, thus emphasizing gender equality and empowerment. Aside from finished goods, useful raw materials may also be made and supplied to local manufacturers to turn into high-value products. All majors are welcome. We specifically need students with an understanding of mechanical engineering, materials science, and/or supply chain management. While the primary emphasis of this team will be on the Philippines, a two-person sub-team will collaborate with faculty and students from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, India. Subject to the travel situation improving, this sub-team will be conducting research in India during Summer 2022.