Abstract

In this paper, the results of a project in which an interdisciplinary team of honors students travelled to Ghana in West Africa for the purpose of developing an economic model of biodiesel production from energy crops in this region is described. The students included majors in engineering, business and finance, economics, and global studies. Student teams were divided into three broad categories: a science/engineering team, a business/economics team, and a cultural/infrastructure team. While each student had a primary team responsibility, they were also required to work across team boundaries to ensure integrated and realistic solutions emerged from their efforts. The ASU team initially met with students and faculty from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, a partner university with ASU in this study. They travelled to Biemso, a small rural village in which a project is underway to produce biodiesel fuel from the oil seed bearing plant known as Jatropha Curcas. In addition, they travelled both to major cities and to other rural villages to study the economic environment of Ghana. The result of the project is a comprehensive model of the feasibility and the best management practices for the production of biodiesel from crops as a tool for economic development, and has resulted in the production of seven undergraduate honors theses at ASU The project described in this paper is part of a larger interdisciplinary initiative at ASU known as GlobalResolve, in which entrepreneurial models for economic progress in developing countries are pursued. This leads to unique design constraints on projects that result in very rewarding experiences for the students that are involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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