Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

First Advisor

Bahram Nassersharif


The Raminar Flow team was tasked with the completion of an entry to the Herox Fluid Systems of Tomorrow Design Challenge. This international design competition challenged participants to design and submit a new product that relates to fluid systems in a home. The product, in addition to its relation to fluid systems, has to present consumers with a significant cost savings over current commercially available alternatives (if any exist), and it must be environmentally sustainable.

To meet these design requirements, the team decided to focus on household water heating. Since most hot water heating is done with a dedicated water heater, it was decided that the best approach was to create a supplemental device that could o set some of the cost associated with water heating. Through research, it was determined that most commercially available devices heated water with solar heat, but it was also found that people in rural areas have been experimenting with water heating with compost as a fuel source. Since the technology seemed promising and under-developed, the team decided to design a device that would harness the heat production of compost for use as a supplemental water heater.

Design specifications were developed for the project, and compost properties and methods were researched. Conceptual designs were then generated by the team. These designs were judged based on merit, and many of the 90 concepts that were generated have a place in the final design. An engineering analysis was done of the various facets of the design, and these calculations and considerations were used to prove that the concept of a compost-powered water heater has merit. A financial analysis of the project was performed, and the Boiler Buddy (the name given to the compost powered water heater) met or exceeded all design specifications.

The team then constructed a test apparatus and conducted experiments. Overall, the Boiler Buddy product proves to be a sustainable way to decompose organic waste and heat water for a home.