Team:Brno Czech Republic/Device

Our device

As part of our project, it is planned to implement a device that would actively remove cyanobacteria from the aquatic environment. The device will float on the surface because it accumulates clusters of cyanobacteria, which are lighter than water and they can capture more sunlight than below the surface.

After studying the issue, the requirements for the device were determined. The device must float on the surface and flow contaminate water. Furthermore, the machine needs to eliminate cyanobacteria quickly enough to be efficient with respect to common tank sizes. The machine must be resistant to solid particles, but must not be clogged with cyanobacterial colonies. A sufficient aerobic environment, which requires Bacillus subtilis, must be provided in the internal environment of the machine. The latest requirements for the device resulted from a public questionnaire, in which the general public expressed their ideas about the machine. The research showed that the machine should be rather inconspicuous and fit into the surrounding environment. It also turned out that the machine will prefer operation on solar energy with minimal use of battery cells.

Design of device

Due to the requirements for ecological operation, the machine was designed for the possibility of placing a solar panel. After the market research, the dimensions of the device were determined so that a sufficiently powerful solar panel could be placed on it. The dimensions of the machine are 54x30x20 cm. The machine will consist of three parts, where two are dry and separated by a third (largest) part, which is wet. The dry areas will contain electronic components such as motors, control unit, batteries and pumps. The wet part will be flow-through and will contain particles that bind Bacillus subtilis on their surface. The wet chamber has one inlet and one outlet. A finer sieve will be present in the outlet, which will not allow the escape of GMOs bound to the particles. The inlet will contain a very coarse sieve to allow cyanobacterial colonies to pass. Crushing and preventing the leakage of GMOs is prevented by a water turbine, which by its movement crushes the colonies and the resulting current directs any particles in the vicinity towards the device. The aerobic environment will be provided by an air pump which will blow air into the wet chamber through the floor of the machine. Air bubbles provide an aerobic environment and constant agitation of the particles.

Our project also envisages the possibility of increasing the requirements for the amount of filtered water or more efficient maintenance of the equipment without the need to interrupt operation. For this case, it is considering a modular variant of our device, which will contain more than one wet chamber. This modular system would allow the renewal and cleaning of the chambers and the adjustment of the parameters of the device according to the nature and pollution of the water surface.

The modular system aims to increase the efficiency of water filtration by the principle of increasing the total content of the active area exposed to contact with contaminated water. Another way to increase the efficiency of the device is to locate the device always in the most contaminated area of ​​the water surface. Therefore, the cooperation of a floating device with a drone is planned. The task of the drone will be to scan the water surface and detect areas with the highest concentration of cyanobacteria. Furthermore, the calculation of the most optimal path is made to plan the path for our device to cover these critical points and keep efficiency as high as possible.

The single-chamber variant of the device has been modeled and the design is ready for printing on a 3D printer.

Figure 1.
Our vision of CYANOTRAP in cooperation with a drone