Monteverde, Costa Rica Project Center - MQP

Current Director(s)
Program Term(s)
C-Term during winter
Project Opportunities
Major Qualifying Project (MQP)

Costa Rica is a land of contrasts: banana plantations, flaming volcanoes, misty black sand beaches, and a thriving modern capitalist economy. A remarkably stable country, both politically and economically, Costa Rica offers an opportunity for students to become immersed in a Central American culture where democracy, economic development, and concern for the environment are a permanent part of the landscape. WPI students will be staying in the Monteverde Cloud Forest region, about 3.5 to 4 hours outside of San Jose. While IQPs have taken place since 2018, C'22 will be the first group of MQP students.

The municipal government and the local water authority for Monteverde, Costa Rica are collaborating on the development of a common site to integrate sanitation projects related to solid waste and wastewater. The vision for the Monteverde Environmental Technology Park focuses on circular economy concepts and greater cost efficiency for local public services. The main idea for a C'22 MQP is based on the final product of the 2020 IQP group and what they showed was possible using a 3D model building software that seemed to be commonly used among engineering students. The goal is to create our first full visualization of the Environmental Technology Park with detailed breakdowns of the specific technologies of interest, their respective scales, how they integrate with one another and how they can be configured at a given site.

A technology park would concentrate all actions together in one location allowing the two agencies to pool resources, as well as create productive treatments that focus on resource recovery including biogas, compost and reclaimed wastewater. This would require merging data and ideas from separate pilot/research projects in order to create something like a rendering of the Master Plan and a "fly through" video presentation.

 Components to be designed and illustrated in greater depth include:

  • Solid Waste Transfer Center

    • Weighing station
    • Non-recoverable waste consolidation station
    • Recyclables separation station
    • Organics transfer station
    • Special materials collection station
  • Productive Treatment Plant
    • Aerated Static Pile Compost reactor
    • Black Soldier Fly Larvae reactor
    • Batch Stir Tank Anaerobic Co-Digestion reactor + 2o passive treatment unit
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant
    • Pre-treatment filtration/screening
    • Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Primary Treatment
    • Trickle Filter or Activated Sludge Secondary Treatment
    • Discharge or Reuse Application

This MQP would build from information collected in the 2020 IQP Project.

“The goal of this project was to develop a basic conceptual design for a Solid Waste Treatment Center and to make recommendations that promote a high participation rate in recycling and organics collection programs in Monteverde. To achieve our goal, we completed five objectives:

1. Identified how the SWM system in Monteverde worked, and how it evolved in the recent years;

2. Determined the historical trends and future projections in growth, composition, and geographic breakdown of the municipal solid waste in Monteverde;

3. Determined successes and shortcomings of the system according to experts; xviii

4. Determined the successes and shortcomings of non-systemic factors according to residents and business owners; and

5. Designed a SWTC that would address the needs of Monteverde experts, residents, and business owners.

We achieved these objectives in three phases. First, we identified the SWM system through direct and participant observation. Second, we determined trends in solid waste production and the successes and shortcomings of the system and non-systemic factors through expert interviews, resident and business owner surveys, and archival research. Third, we designed the SWTC by consolidating our findings from phases 1 and 2 with flow-rate and spatial calculations to produce a SolidWorks SWTC design.”