Frugal Innovation Lab: Environmental Student Project Summaries

  • The Frugal Innovation Lab (FIL) at Santa Clara University's School of Engineering
  • January 19, 2013
Environmental Student Project Summaries

The Frugal Innovation Lab (FIL) at Santa Clara University's School of Engineering formally began operations in April of 2012.  Over the course of 8 short months, FIL's students, faculty members, partners and sponsors have designed and implemented a great number of successful projects. Below are broad summaries of a selection of environmental projects that students have spearheaded over the past year.

Pedal Power

The project involves producing a system that can be used to charge mobile phones and other electronic devices by creating power from energy generated by a bicycle. The Power Pedal system once attached to a bicycle will constantly generate electricity while the rear wheel is in motion. Excess energy is stored in batteries that are integrated into the system.

Green Technos

The idea of the project is to develop a service that will help fisherman preserve their fish, sell their catch for higher prices, and reduce the amount of fish that is discarded back into the ecosystem.  This service would put ice trucks in the poor fishing villages previously mentioned.  Trained workers would wait in the harbor, collect and label the fish brought in by each fisherman who accepts the service, and take the catch to the market to sell for a fair price.  This will allow fisherman to reach a larger market, including inland areas previously unable to receive fresh fish.  Fish unable to be sold will be bought at wholesale prices by local farmers who will use it as feed for their animals. 

Smart Energy

Smart Energy is an energy efficient consulting firm that aims to provide profitable and eco-friendly energy and water solutions to remote rural Indian clients by using renewable resources.  The strategy is to integrate mobile technologies to implement a pay per use system that functions through cell phone applications. The goal is to make rural areas self-sufficient through individually tailored renewable energy solutions.


SolaDapt provides a universal solar power charging controller and adaptors for peripherals such as mobile chargers, lanterns, radios, and low power fans as a solution to international energy needs.  They designed this portfolio of lighting products for off grid communities based on the recommendations and knowledge of Kamworks (GSBI’11) and Angaza Design (GSBI’11). They created product modules focused around a solar adaptor that allows customers to expand their lighting portfolios based on specific needs and income level.

Latimer Fellows Mobile, Solar Powered Ultrasound Machine

The Latimer Lab and partner FIL students designed a mobile solar powered ultrasound machine.  With the capability to perform all routine ultrasound imaging procedures, the ability to expand more advanced healthcare to underserved communities is greatly improved.

The mission of the EDT Team is to design, develop and market new technologies in the field of wind energy. We aim to reduce what is spent on energy by taking advantage of the most common form of transportation in rural India: the bicycle. By attaching our device to the bicycle, we can harness some of the wind energy created by the forward motion. Essentially, instead of paying for all the energy that they need, users will be able to supplement their current energy needs using our product, getting some electricity for free while riding their bicycles. We are committed to providing Wind Chargers for bicycle retailers and manufacturers worldwide.

From Garbage to Harvest

From Garbage to Harvest is an environmentally friendly approach to waste management that decreases waste generation and generates nutrient-rich compost and cleaner biofuel for the Base of Pyramid market.  They created a closed loop distribution solution for the bi-products of organic waste disposal. Their solution utilized the vermicompost and bio gas that are produced from organic waste decomposition, through a strategic distribution location they simultaneously improve farmers' crop yield, and encourage households to use bio-gas instead of hazardous kerosene.

“GI Joe’s”

Biogas is produced from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter such as animal manure, sewage, and municipal solid waste. After it is processed to required standards of purity, biogas becomes a renewable substitute for natural gas and can be used to fuel natural gas vehicles. Our product will empower each end user with the ability to manufacture their own energy. Each consumer will no longer be subjected to the monopoly that the utility companies currently have on consumers. In the areas where utility companies don’t provide service, our product will enable the end users to have bio gas at their disposal for power usage in their homes, something that would otherwise not be available to them.

Click here to learn more about the Frugal Innovation Lab at Santa Clara University's School of Engineering.


Our website uses Cookies to enhance your experience and to measure, understand, and improve our website. By continuing to use this website you agree to the use of Cookies. If you do not agree, you can decide to disable Cookies in your web browser. Learn More About Cookies
Got it!