university of illinois at urbana-champaign

2012 Funded Projects (U of I)  |  2011 Seed Projects (U of I)  |  2011 Projects (India)

2011 Seed Projects (U of I)

2011 seed project budget allocation by department

Engineering Solutions for Postharvest Loss Monitoring and Prevention

Principal Investigators: Steve Eckhoff, Grace Danao, and K.C. Ting
[Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering]

The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) is currently in the process of compiling and assessing relevant literature on the severity of the postharvest losses in the target countries and on the costs of newer storage, handling technology. A wiki site was set up to allow researchers access to an online database of information and the resources that have been identified thus far are also available on the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss website. During the spring 2011 semester, ABE graduate student Ning Wang worked with the Institute and with other graduate students to compile relevant data. ABE plans to distribute a white paper on their findings in fall 2011. ABE is also in the process of identifying potential partners in the targeted countries.

Project Proposal | Progress Report

Distributed Wireless Monitoring of Carbon Dioxide Concentrations in Grain Bins

Principal Investigators: Steve Eckhoff and Lynford Goddard
[Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering]

Steven Eckhoff and Lynford Goddard are working on a project titled “Distributed Wireless Monitoring of Carbon Dioxide Concentrations in Grain Bins.” The goal is to develop low-cost wireless sensors that can map out the local concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in large volume grain bins.  Microbial respiration can thereby be monitored via changes in the CO2 concentration over time.  The sensors will be slightly larger than the size of a corn kernel and able to be mass manufactured at a relatively low cost per individual sensor. The low cost and recoverability of the sensors will enable farmers and elevator manager to randomly distribute a hundred or more such sensors directly in the bin’s interior during bin filling for local distributed sensing.

Project Proposal | Progress Report

Innovosoy; Understanding PHL and On-Farm Storage in Mato Grosso

Principal Investigator: Pete Goldsmith
[Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics]

Pete Goldsmith is currently in the process of identifying potential collaborators in Brazil. Pete is planning a trip to Brazil in early June to meet with these potential collaborators to establish: research partnerships; operating processes and procedures; and the boundaries of the research activities.  

Pete Goldsmith is also working on a project titled "Understanding PHL and On-Farm Storage in Mato Grosso: Liquidity, Transparency, Risk and Access to Capital." The research will study the issue of the under supply of private on-farm and cooperative storage in developing countries. In particular, the working hypothesis is that the business, legal, and institutional environment in developing countries elevate risk and induce capital market failures associated with storage investments.

Project Proposal | Progress Report

Preventable Post-Harvest Loss

Principal Investigator: Rob Hornbaker
[Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics]

Rob Hornbaker is currently undergoing an extensive assessment project to determine the current level of preventable postharvest losses and to identify alternative scale appropriate technology for reducing postharvest loss. He is currently in the process of conducting a literature review to assess historical losses in India and will also do the same review for Brazil. The final deliverable of Rob Hornbaker’s work will include a white paper outlining the supply chain for at least one or two of the crops of interest in Brazil and India which will include initial estimates of the postharvest loss for the key stages of the supply chain.

Project Proposal | Progress Report

The State of Agricultural Policy in India and Brazil

Principal Investigator: Mindy Mallory
[Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics]

Mindy Mallory has started two white papers on the policy implications on postharvest loss in both Brazil and in India. As a part of her research, she will identify policies that either help or hinder investment in postharvest infrastructure in the two countries.

Project Proposal | Progress Report

Value Stream Mapping for Post-Harvest Loss

Principal Investigator: Udatta Palekar
[Department of Business Administration]

Udatta Palekar is currently working on two projects. The first project is developing a hands-on technique to help analyze postharvest loss at a micro-level by repurposing a successful technique from Lean manufacturing. He is creating a process map that will help identify the sources of waste and plan for an improved future state process plan. One of Udatta’s undergraduate classes finished a group project on the agricultural supply chain in the spring 2011 semester.

Udatta Palekar is also working on modeling the agricultural supply chain. This project considers more systemic causes of postharvest loss by studying the supply chain model in a game theoretic context.

Project Proposal | Progress Report

Empowering the Human: A Crowd-sourcing Perspective

Principal Investigator: Tarek Abdelzaher
[Department of Computer Science]

Tarek Abdelzaher is in the process of creating a pilot project to build an automated information collection and management service that allows a provider to prompt large groups of individuals to share data via their cell phones on selected issues of concern. He is using crowd sourcing to extract accurate information by involving the general population in data collection and feedback. By using this method, he should be able to improve awareness of bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and the causes of postharvest loss.

Project Proposal | Progress Report

Integrated Crop Supply Chain Planning for Minimum Post-Harvest Loss

Principal Investigator: Ximing Cai
[Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering]

Ximing Cai is in the process of investigating optimal engineering solutions and infrastructure investment required to minimize postharvest loss in crop quantity and quality. His group is modeling a large scale crop supply system including harvesting, handling, storage, processing, transportation and distribution in markets. The first area currently being investigated are the risks associated with physical, environmental and social factors and an assessment of the economic benefits and costs of technical options. The second area being investigated is a project to determine the multi-echelon supply chain design to reduce postharvest loss under stochastic and dynamic/seasonal demand.

Project Proposal | Progress Report

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