DM-Es in a Pod

A Green Fuel for Somalia


Member profile details

Membership level
2012-2013 Team
Team Name
DM-Es in a Pod
Project Title
A Green Fuel for Somalia
Design Challenge
Designing a process to produce a green energy source from indigenous natural gas in Somalia. Given the scarce energy a wind and solar energy farm is to be implemented. Additionally, a stream of water from fracturing is to be cleaned.We are designing a plant that will produce dimethyl ether, a diesel fuel substitute, in Somalia from a natural gas feed. Our plant is to include a wind/solar energy farm on 100 acres of land to provide clean green energy. We are required to store the energy chemically without the use of batteries. Additionally, we must take into account the limited and costly access we will have to external utilities such as fresh water and energy. Given our coastal location we have the option of using sea water provided we factor in the cleaning process.
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Design Summary
Given the clean and versatile characteristics of dimethyl ether (DME), our process will utilize an innovative one-step reaction to synthesis DME. Somalia has a dependence on charcoal and replacing it with DME can reduce the impact of deforestation. Additionally, DME can be used as an alternative to diesel and propane fuels. The natural gas feedstock will be reformed into a synthesis gas comprised of CO and H2 which is fed into the reactor. We are given 100 acres of land on which to place a renewable energy plant. Given Somalia's average wind speeds and solar exposure, a hybrid system of wind turbines and solar panels will be implemented. The produced water, almost 3000 times saltier than sea water, will be cleaned using mechanical vapor compression (MVC) and integrated into our process.
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Dr. Kenneth Cox
Faculty Advisor 2 - Name
Professor Richard Strait
Award(s) and Recognition
2013 Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase: Best Environment and Sustainability Award

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