Capstone instructor

Chuck Coronella

The 2024 Senior Capstone course in chemical engineering was taught by Chuck Coronella. To learn more about the chemical engineering projects, please email Chuck Coronella.

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 PFAS Removal from Wastewater Streams

    External advisor: Casey Mentzer, Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility

    Students: Jacob Barbieri, Amelia Bryan, Alyssa Walker, Rachel Werner

    The team is designing and integrating a system for PFAS removal in wastewater streams at TMWRF.

  • CHE-2 Safety Kleen

    External advisor: Chase Sanches

    Students: Xavier Crysdale, Matthew Hastings, Jack Noll, Shivam Patel

    An oil refinery in Fallon, Nevada, is experiencing problems with one of the cooling towers in its process. The tower has an excessive sludge buildup within and the cooling water is scaling and fouling subsequent unit operations within the process as a result of the contaminants present in the water. Due to those problems, the oil refinery is losing a significant amount of revenue. The goal of this project is to design a system that can effectively treat the cooling water to reduce/remove the presence of sludge within the cooling tower and prevent/prolong the formation of scale on process equipment.

  • CHE-3 Multiuse Vapor Recovery Mobile Unit

    External advisor: Tiara Bechtold, Ormat

    Students: Charles Avery, Ben Huey, Patrick Myers, Nicholas Ryan

    The project is to design a new process skid that is portable, durable and can handle evacuating all working fluids while being able to be fully evacuated from one working fluid to another to not contaminate the processes.

  • CHE-4 Magnesium Sulfate Extraction

    External advisor: Dan Kappes, Kappes-Cassidey and Associates

    Students: Catherine Dyer, Sara Moon, Celeste Neahusan

    Contemporary mining processes, including lithium extraction from clays, involve leaching ores with sulfuric acid. In the primary extraction processes, several kilograms of magnesium dissolve as magnesium sulfate for each kilogram of lithium that dissolves. The conventional approach is to neutralize the magnesium sulfate solution with limestone, which creates an environmentally damaging sludge of calcium sulfate and magnesium hydroxide. This sludge does not settle easily, is very voluminous and generally is stored in tailings ponds where it remains as a soupy, wet sludge for many years. The capstone team will look into alternatives for magnesium sulfate removal while avoiding the addition of limestone.

  • CHE-5 Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling

    External advisor: York Smith, American Battery Technology Co.

    Students: Kristina Collier, Christian Pineda-Arciniega, Allondra Thibault

    The rise in production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles has lead to an overabundance of spent batteries as well as a shortage of critical minerals to produce new batteries. The recycling of existing lithium-ion batteries to reclaim the useful metals addresses both of these needs. This project utilizes hydrometallurgy to recycle black mass from various battery chemistries to reclaim lithium, cobalt, nickel and other useful metals.

  • CHE-6 Energy Storage

    Students: Bryan Day, Madeline Leaahy, Andrew Thompson, Kian Zoeters

    Renewable energies play a pivotal role in ensuring a sustainable energy supply while keeping greenhouse gas emissions in check. The incorporation of renewable power into the global energy framework faces challenges due to the erratic nature of renewable energy sources. Specifically, wind and solar energy exhibit significant fluctuations, necessitating enhanced storage technologies for grid stability and optimal utilization of renewable resources. One effective strategy to address this variability is the use of chemical energy storage systems. Excess electrical energy generated by wind and solar power can be stored in the form of chemical molecules like hydrogen or methane through processes known as "power-to-gas" (PtG) methods. In PtG, the process of electrolysis splits water molecules using electric current, resulting in the production of hydrogen. Subsequently, renewable hydrogen can be converted into methane through a process called methanation. Compared to hydrogen, methane offers two significant advantages: higher energy density per unit volume and the ability to inject large quantities of methane into the gas grid. The gas grid itself has substantial storage capacity and enables the versatile use of methane in various sectors, including power generation, heating and transportation. The team aims to design a PtG system capable of storing renewable energy.