The UW chapter of Engineers Without Borders, has agreed to work with the project team to transition ownership of the food cart at the end of the grant period. Kevin Cussen and Maeve Harris have brainstormed 3 primary approaches to sustaining the impact achieved through this project beyond the grant period and are happy to work with the CSF Committee towards their preferred sustainment approach. 1. Converting the digesters from plug-flow to batch reactor type digesters to minimize labor needs. Plug flow reactors have the benefit of creating gas at a steadier production level but require upkeep on a weekly/bi-weekly basis to do so. Batch reactors on the other hand require much less maintenance (i.e. filling the reactor once every few months). Transitioning from plug-flow to batch would reduce the amount of refilling and maintenance needed from 10+ hours a month to 3 - 4 hours every 2 months and allow EWB to continue operations of the digester beyond the grant period. 2. Depending on Engineers Without Borders situation at the end of the grant period, EWB may be willing to take on ownership (without need for a conversion) for the food cart and continue operating it using the existing sourcing strategy. This approach would provide an active project for chapter members to work on and continued outreach into the UW and local community. 3. Lastly, EWB has offered to take ownership of the food cart in order to disassemble the cart for parts. These parts would then be used in the ongoing operations of the chapter.
Potential Funding Reductions:
Reduction #1 - Approximately $2,100 over the course of the grant could be saved on workshop and operating space rent if the University could provide these facilities. SafeFlame has been working with the University for over a year now to try to find such a property without success. As such, we have secured an operating site at $100 / mo. and have estimated workshop space costs at approximately $250 / mo. Reduction #2 - We’ve put into the budget line items for a garbage disposal ($350) as well as a development costs for 2 custom-designed, hand-powered grinders ($1,000). We feel that hand-powered grinders are instrumental to the narrative of alternative energies (and allow us to operate without electricity), however either (but not both) could be removed from the budget without drastically impairing operations. Reduction #3 - Quoted prices are retail. Based on the quick design / construction / operations turnaround needed in order to demonstrate the food cart at Earth Day, we’ve quoted Home Depot prices. If we were to spend some time searching for second hand parts, we could likely reduce the overall parts budget by 20 - 40% (an overall reduction of $1,100 - $2,200). However, this would likely close the window of opportunity to showcase the technology at Earth Day - the largest sustainability event of the year. Reduction #4 - If a practicing engineer from the Seattle or UW community could be found to provide pro bono technical assistance several times a week during the design and construction process, the 50% donated time from SafeFlame engineers could be reduced or eliminated resulting in a savings of up to $1,680 over the course of the grant.
In progress, accepting volunteers