Ouriel Ndalamba is a Sophomore Chemical Engineering major. She is a CWIT Scholar, member of the Honors College, a summer LSAMP participant, and a URA Scholar.
Title of your research project:
Dissolved carbon dioxide flotation for nutrient extraction and recovery from poultry litter.
Describe your project:
Land application of poultry litter and other agricultural wastes by farmers causes nutrient runoff into water bodies and creates dead zones, which negatively impact water quality and aquatic life. My research aims to develop a new technology to effectively remove and recover the nutrients in poultry litter and agricultural waste to not only protect the environment, but also generate valuable fertilizers and soil amendments that can be sold to offset operating costs.
Who is your mentor(s) for your project?
My mentors are Dr. Lee Blaney and Michael Fleming in the Department of Chemical, Biochemical, and Environmental Engineering (CBEE). I was introduced to Dr. Blaney by Dr. Miller and Dr. Wagner as I expressed an interest in engineering after I graduated high school. In the lab, I work alongside Michael Fleming, a graduate student. I asked Dr. Blaney to mentor me for this project, because I am interested in solving water pollution problems.
How did you become interested in this project?
I became interested in this project after learning more about different types of water pollution and, in particular, how nutrients were dangerous to the aquatic life of many rivers in the US and other parts of the world. The recycling aspect of the project, namely turning a waste source like poultry litter into a high-quality fertilizer, also fascinated me.
What has been the hardest part about your research/what was the most unexpected thing about being a researcher?
The most unexpected thing about being a researcher was understanding that the answer to one question just leads to more questions. Every day of working in the lab (or reading the literature) brings me motivation to seek more understanding about my research project, allowing my work to progress and evolve.
What has been the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part has been seeing how much I can learn from working in the lab and using that knowledge to help people and the planet.
How will you disseminate your research (URCAD presentation, conference, publication, etc?)
I will present my research at URCAD next April!
What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?
Do not be afraid of trying new experiences, even if you do not feel ready. You can learn if you put in the work and time.
What are your professional goals?
My goal is to go to graduate school.