CHBE Pandas rule the day

Chemical engineering team wins top engineering showcase award

The undergraduate team “CHBE Pandas” became the first team of chemical engineering seniors to win the grand prize in the Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase and Poster Competition, a featured event of this week’s UnConvention at Rice April 12-14.

The team took the $5,000 Excellence in Engineering Design prize, one of 15 awards given at the April 12 showcase at Rice’s Tudor Fieldhouse. The name “CHBE Pandas” is a riff on the common acronym — which is pronounced “chubby” — for the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. The CHBE Pandas won for their  design of a self-sufficient chemical plant to upgrade raw natural gas and clean water used in well fracturing. The goal is to improve the quality of life for people in the Sichuan Basin in China.

CHBE Pandas

Members of the CHBE Pandas celebrate their victory in the Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase and Poster Competition.

Team members are Apoorv Bhargava, Prachi Bhawalkar, Valicia Miller, Shelby Reinhardt, Kavita Venkateswar and Erte Xi.

The CHBE Pandas and many of the other showcase winners will display their work at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. during the UnConvention.

Other prizes, each worth $500, went to:

 Best Interdisciplinary Design Project: tCOIL, a wireless system to power ventricular-assist devices.

 Best Conceptual Design Project: TLDW Inc., a sustainable airport-themed diner.

 Best Global Health Technologies Engineering Design Project: Team SAPHE, a postpartum hemorrhage warning system for the developing world.

 Best Energy Related Engineering Design Project: Tanker, a wireless sensor-receiver to accurately and inexpensively measure the fluid level in above-ground oil storage tanks.

 Best Health Related Engineering Design Project: CivSAFE, a replacement for cervical collars to protect the heads and necks of accident victims.

 Best Environment and Sustainability Award: Team SONSO, which has designed an environmentally sound station to link Houston’s METRO Rail to Amtrak.

 Best Sustainable Civil Design Project: CCP Civil Solutions, the design of a LEED-certified construction company headquarters.

 Best Gaming, Creative or Innovative Technology Award: Team Cadet, a customizable accelerator-decelerator equipment tester for military use.

 Best Engineering Design for Research: Team O3, a system for the ozone sterilization of bone grafts.

 Best Engineering Design Project by Underclassmen: IV Ring, an IV drip volume regulator for the developing world.

 National Instruments Award for Engineering Design: Don’t Believe the Pipe, a robot navigator to inspect complex pipeline networks.

 Texas Instruments Award for Engineering Design: Mobile Vision, a novel system for eye health diagnostics.

 Judges and Professors Choice Award: Rice Solar Car Club, the university’s first solar-powered car, which took second place in its division in the recent Shell Eco-marathon Americas.

 Students Choice Award: Breath Alert, a neonatal apnea monitor for the developing world.

About Mike Williams

Mike Williams is a senior media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.