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Time: 3:00 pm–4:30 pm

Location: 2-139

Water and Food Security Seminar Series

This symposium will bring together students at MIT who have an interest in water and food security. Six graduate students from across various programs at MIT will provide a brief overview of their research in water and food security, together with the results and the impact of their findings. A discussion with the audience on the issues and potential solutions to the grand challenges in water and food security will follow.

The presenters for the symposium are:

Paige Midstokke, Tata Fellow, Technology and Policy, Master’s candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Title: Integrating socioeconomic, climate, and geomorphologic data for improved drought planning in Aurangabad, India

Description: The District of Aurangabad faces sustained drought in the presence of depleted rainfall, water intensive industries and water intensive crops, leading to rural water drinking shortages and long-term water tanker usage. Using the plethora of data from the national census, local surveys, observation wells, climatology, and geomorphology maps, one can improve early indicators of drought and thus improve water scarcity planning at the district and local levels.

Anjuli Jain Figueroa, PhD candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Title: Sustainable Agriculture – Quantifying the trade-offs between food security and environmental impacts

Description: Illustration of the current and future expected issues faced in agriculture using case studies of the trade-offs between food production and environmental degradation. Explanation of the current state of crop modeling. Discussion of a framework for a systems approach to study how to increase crop production to meet 2050 population needs while limiting the negative environmental impacts.

Kevin Patrick Simon, PhD candidate, Mechanical Engineering

Title: High efficiency, low-cost positive displacement pumps for solar irrigation

Description: Solar irrigation for small-plot farmers in rural India requires cheaper and more efficient pumps to replace diesel. This research focuses on optimizing DC pumps and system architecture to make solar irrigation systems affordable to small-plot farmers.

Pulkit Shamshery, PhD candidate, Department of Mechanical Engineering | GEAR Lab

Title: Low cost- energy efficient drip irrigation system

Description: Development of an off- grid drip irrigation system that is economically accessible for small and marginal farmers. A complete systems-level approach to the drip irrigation problem as well identification, analysis and optimization of the lowest hanging technological problem are discussed.

Luke Schiferl, PhD candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Title: Contrasting particulate matter and ozone effects on crop production

Description: Air quality influences on crop production are explored. Negative impacts of ozone on crops can be offset by enhancement in growth due to an increase in diffuse light caused by ambient particulate matter. An atmospheric chemistry model is joined with offline and online crop production simulations to quantify the net effect.

Pranay Jain, Legatum Fellow and PhD candidate, Mechanical Engineering

Title: Milk quality analysis for villages in India

Description: Development of the next generation of milk analysis instruments for grass roots applications in India to ensure milk quality and to improve farmer payment mechanisms. A systems-level approach to the problem and critical aspects of user-centric product design will be discussed.

Kendall Nowocin, Legatum Fellow and PhD candidate, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Title: CoolCrop: Sustainable cold storage for small and marginal farmers

Description: A crippling problem in the agricultural system is crop wastage and inefficient supply chain infrastructure. In India, approximately 1 out of every 5 crates of produce is lost due to wastage, and 65% of India’s agriculturists are small and marginal farmers who lack access to the required storage and marketing infrastructure. CoolCrop uses modular cold storage units that can be sourced locally with a software analytics tool to better inform these farmers and increase the value of their produce.

Closing Remarks: Professor Dennis McLaughlin, Civil and Environmental Engineering

A reception will follow the symposium.

Curated by: Professor Chandra Madramootoo, Visiting Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Visiting Scholar, J-WAFS

Sponsor(s): Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS)

For more information, contact:
Allison Dougherty