Past Internship Projects
See how MTP2 interns have helped local business
A local company based out of Great Falls, has been producing "Nature's Best From the Northwest" pasta for over twenty five years. Water is vital in making pasta especially for creating a vacuum to create the pasta's color. The water for this process was half of all the water used by the facility.The problem under taken by intern Edwin Allan was to reduce the amount wasted in this process.
Upon investigation, Allan found that some of the flow gauges were giving inaccurate readings. Three of the four pumps were operating above the max flow rate. From there Allan discovered they were able to lower the flow by half without losing the required vacuum pressure. The estimated water saved annually was over 13 million gallons, or two thirds of what they had been using on average. The water reduction saved Pasta Montana over $81,000 per year.
The full case study of Pasta Montana can be found as PDF.
Native Fish Keepers, Inc.
In 2022, Elissa Ikola under took a project to help Native Fish Keepers, Inc., a local fishery on Flathead Lake, reduce wasted fish biomass. Before the project an upper bound of 80% of the harvested biomass would be considered waste. The project consisted of research into the current process and possible uses for the waste.
The project succeeded in both finding products for the excess biomass to be used in and ideas on how to refine the process, reducing created waste.
The full case study of Native Fish Keepers, Inc. can be found as a PDF.
Food Product and Development Lab
Located on MSU's campus the Food Product and Development Lab works with communities in both Montana and Senegal. The lab works to produce viable processes of production for nutritious, eco-friendly, and traditional products. Hannah Kempf started the project to help communities in Senegal. The lab had been working on producing a beverage that used indigenous Senegal plants and Kemp's internship focused on the issue of storage.
The existing product required refrigeration and had a short shelf life. The project concluded that the beverage could be dried into a powder and rehydrated later. This would eliminate the need for refrigeration or electricity. The powder could be contained in recyclable paper packages to further reduce waste form the product.
The full case study of Food Product and Development Lab can be found as a PDF.
Montana Pure Protein
Montana Pure Protein is a Billings company that offers plant products to allow Montanans to intake more sustainable plant-based protein. One of the products they produce is textured vegetable protein (TVP), a meat substitute high in protein. Currently TVP is created when extracting soybean oil. However this can require a significant amount of land and can cause pollution throughout the process. Lentils, in theory can be a substitute for soybeans and potentially have less of an impact on the environment. A theory that MTP2 intern Ravi Kumar Pirati tested.
In the U.S., Montana is the largest producer of lentils,making it a particularly easy substitute here. The lentils are easy to grow in Montana relying on the rain, not irrigation, and no sowing done but air sowing. Lentils are also a legume and will add nitrogen to the soil instead of requiring fertilizer. After doing extensive research, it was found that organic lentils used roughly 1 gal to every 11 gallons used by an acre of soybeans. Lentils have a little more than a third of the Global Warming potential. Ravi Kumar Pirati concluded that not only was it possible but likely to save the farmer considerable money and water.
The full case study of Montana Pure Protein can be found as PDF
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