INNOVATION DAY 2023 | chemical engineering

Capstone instructor

Sage Hiibel

The 2023 Senior Capstone course in chemical engineering was taught by Sage Hiibel. To learn more about the chemical engineering projects, please email Sage Hiibel.

About the department

Our undergraduate programs offer you the opportunity to work closely with our research-active faculty. Small class sizes and undergraduate research opportunities help you get to know your professors and provide opportunities to get hands-on research experience. We offer Nevada's only undergraduate degree program in chemical engineering and materials science and engineering. Visit the Department of Chemical & Materials Science Engineering

Explore the projects

  • CHE-1 Purification System for Biogas Generated from Anaerobic Digestion

    External advisor: Casey Mentzer, Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility

    Students: Emma Haley, David Powers, Peter Ramsdale, Thomas Selmi

    The Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF) is the largest water reclamation facility in northern Nevada. Part of the treatment process includes anaerobic digestion of organics, which produces a methane-rich biogas that potentially can be used to meet the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard Program. The goal of this project is to design a biogas purification system that will treat the biogas produced at TMWRF to a level that meets NV Energy standards.

  • CHE-2 Drug Delivery in the Brain

    External advisor: Rashed Khan, UNR College of Engineering Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering

    Students: Antonio Kay, Paul Kurashewich, Jeremy Salcedo Lara, Kaily Webb

    The goal of this project is to design and develop a drug delivery system for the human brain. The project will use commercially available dialysis probes to deliver a synthetic drug to surrogate brain tissue. Agarose hydrogels will be used to mimic normal and diseased brain tissues, and the probes will be used to infiltrate the drug into the “tissue.”

  • CHE-3 Copper Removal from Gold and Silver Ore

    External advisor: Jared Olson, McClellan Laboratories

    Students: Andrew Harkness, Thomas Kaps, Jesus Mata, Luke Stokes

    Photo collage of head shots of four students.

    Many gold and silver deposits also have copper as part of the deposit. A commonly used process in many gold mining operations is to use cyanide to separate the metals from the other ore materials. Thus, having copper in the ore requires additional cyanide to effectively capture the gold and silver. Currently available processes for copper removal have high capital costs and require rigorous operational control, limiting their practical and economical implementation at many sites. The goal of this project is to design a processing facility that can effectively remove copper from the gold/silver recovery process to reduce the amount of cyanide required, and production of a saleable copper product is preferred.

  • CHE-4 Phosphorus and Silicon Removal in Used Motor Oil Recycling and Re-Refining

    Photo collage with head shots of four students.

    External advisor: Michael Molony, Safety Kleen

    Students: Carlos De Leon, Isaac Lontz, Ethan Safier, Laurel Sharpless

    Used motor oil can be recycled and re-refined into a clean base oil that is sold back into the market. However, high concentrations of phosphorus and silicon in the used motor oils reduces the life expectancy of the catalyst used in the hydrotreating step. The project goal is to design a treatment technology that can be integrated into the existing re-refining process that efficiently removes the phosphorus and silicon from the used motor oil.

  • CHE-5 TDS Removal at Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility

    External advisor: Casey Mentzer, Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility

    Students: Daniel Estavillo Jr., Rebecca Garrity, Cole Russo, Ethan Mosca

    The Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (TMWRF), the largest water reclamation facility in northern Nevada, discharges into the Truckee River via Steamboat Creek and is heavily regulated by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection with some of the most stringent discharge limitations in the nation. One particularly challenging class of pollutants, total dissolve solids (TDS), are the solids such as salts, minerals and other ions smaller than 2 microns in size that are not effectively removed through conventional wastewater processes. The goal of this project is to design a system for TDS removal that will enable the plant to reach its permitted 40 million gal/day annual average flow allowed for Truckee River discharge without exceeding TDS loading limits.