College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Environmental Science & Technology

Past Ecological Engineering Projects

Floating Lake Restorer
This floating living machine was designed after John Todd’s lake restorer concept.  A prototype was constructed and tested as a student design project at the University of Maryland.  The system was powered by a solar panel and could thus operate autonomously.

[pdf of paper]


The Mars Desert Research Station Machine
The greenhouse at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah contains a living machine that is used to treat greywater produced by researchers who visit the site.  Wastewater is treated and reused to flush toilets at the station.

[pdf of paper]  [poster]  [diagram1]  [diagram2]  [diagram3]


Second Nature
This living machine was constructed by the Natureworks Company of Alexandria, VA to treat wastewater at a rural Masonic Lodge in northern Virginia, where the soil was unsuitable for a septic tank. Wastewater is treated and reused to flush toilets at the lodge.

[pdf of paper]  [diagram]


Bathroom Buoy
The Bathroom Buoy is a concept for a floating living machine that could be used to treat wastewater from boats.  The idea is that boats would dock with Bathroom Buoy and discharge wastes into it’s living machine for treatment.  A benchtop-scale model was built and tested in a graduate seminar at the University of Maryland.

[pdf of paper]


The Tidewater Marina Machine
This living machine consists of an outdoor prototype of a larger system for treating boat washwater in a marina setting.  The system was tested successfully at the Tidewater Marina on Baltimore Harbor and the design is now being scaled up.  A strong pH gradient is generated by the system which is important for absorption of heavy metals in the wastewater. 



The Mars Greenhouse at the University of Maryland
The Mars Greenhouse on the University of Maryland campus contains a living machine for studying biologically based wastewater treatment.  The system is a prototype for a larger version at the Mars Society’s Desert Research Station in Utah.

[pdf of paper]  [poster]  [diagram]


The Wee Wee Caye Machine
This living machine was built to treat greywater from a dining hall at the Wee Wee Caye Marine Station on the Belize barrier reef.  The system operated successfully for about six months but then became overloaded with grease.  It is currently being redesigned.



The Iron Cycler
This is a living machine that simulates the iron cycle in wetland- scapes.  A laboratory scale model was built and tested that alternates the oxidation state of dissolved iron.  The system is being studied for potential to treat iron-rich waters.



An Autonomous Wetland Soil Microcosm
Wetland soil microcosm was designed to feed itself either a a carbon source a nitrogen source based on its redox state in David Blersch's Master's Thesis.  This system displayed autonomous behavior by turning on and off the carbon and nitrogen sources without human input.  

[pdf of paper] [diagram]


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