Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Bogotá and the 2021 AIChE Chemical Engineering for Good Challenge (ACE4G)

AIChE Chemical Engineering for Good Challenge, also known as ACE4G, is a competition to encourage chemical engineering students and their partners to consider how chemical engineering know-how can be appropriately applied on a small scale to improve the quality of life for communities in the developing world. Learn more about the students.

How did you come up with the idea for your competition submission “Low-cost Solar Convective Food Dehydrator”?

Our chapter is very concerned about the difficulties facing Colombian farmers, and a large part of our team loves to work on social projects. That’s why we thought about how we could transform the food produced in vulnerable regions and give it added value. We had a few meetings discussing Academicos Por Colombia and how to transform the raw food, and we concluded that without water, it was possible to increase the crop’s usefulness and decrease the rejected products.

Do you think that the technology you recommended could be implemented on a larger scale?

Yes, the solar dehydration technology is versatile and can be used as a single unit for personal use or as multiple units for industrial purposes.

What inspired you to enter this competition?

Our motivation is to work for Colombian development in rural areas applying our knowledge, so when we saw the opportunity we said, “Let’s do it!”

What were some of the highlights of working on this competition with your team members? Did you learn anything new in this process?

Throughout the whole process, virtual teamwork was a highlight. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we had to work to make our online meetings more dynamic, always emphasizing the creation of a friendly working environment. Additionally, the competition let us explore a topic that most of us had never worked on, which allowed us to discover new abilities in different areas of chemical engineering.

Finally, we learned about the many criteria required for successfully constructing a project. This will help us in the future with our personal projects, giving us a path to follow so that we don’t have to start from zero.