P17487: Kontiki Kiln Heat Recovery System

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

In this phase, our team planned to interview our customer to decide on the primary purpose of the heat recovery design. After our discussion, as well as reviewing recommendations from last year's design, our team decided that we would be focusing our efforts on recovering heat for hot showers. Additionally, if the heating is consistent, we will try to pasteurize the water. We agreed with the customer understanding that this is not primary the focus of the project as the difficulty and short time frame may not lead to a successful design.

Project Summary

The Kon Tiki Kiln is used to decompose unwanted organic materials into biochar, which is primarily used to improve agricultural yields. This kiln already creates biochar very well, but the customer determined that there was excess heat which could be recovered from the kiln. A previous senior design team (P16487) attempted to create an add-on that would dry tea leaves and pasteurize water, however the pasteurization was inconsistent.

The main goal of this project is to use the lessons learned from the previous senior design team to create a system that recovers waste heat to produce hot water for showers and/or radiant heating. Additionally, if we can accomplish water pasteurization temperatures, that would be an added bonus. The expected end result is a functioning prototype of our heat recovery system. The key constraints for this system is that it must not affect the biochar production of the kiln, it must cost less than $250, and that it must be easily operable by a farmer or homeowner.

Raw material being fed into the fire Biochar production

Use Cases

Example of Use Case Scenario

Example of Use Case Scenario

This Use Case shows the process between a kiln operator in the community using the heat recovery system when operating the kiln.

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

Expected end result of the project, what the customer can expect to receive:

Customer Requirements (Needs)

Click here to read our customer interview notes.

List of customer requirements

List of customer requirements

Click here for a link to the spreadsheet used for both customer and engineering requirements.

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)

List of engineering requirements

List of engineering requirements


House of Quality

House of Quality comparing customer requirements against engineering requirements

House of Quality comparing customer requirements against engineering requirements

The full House of Quality spreadsheet is located here.

Design Review Materials

Plans for next phase

Our team's 3 week goal can be seen here.

Our team members' individual 3-week plans can be seen below:

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