Covello Ethan midp pic

Ethan is from Honolulu, Hawaii, and graduated from Henry J. Kaiser High School. He is currently a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. Ethan’s career interests lie in the field of aerospace technology as well as the engineering of mountain bikes and other outdoor equipment. In his free time, he is an avid skier, surfer, and mountain biker.

Home Island: O‘ahu

High School: Henry J. Kaiser High School

Institution when accepted: Montana State University, Bozeman

Akamai Project: Developing a Diesel Fuel Release Detection Procedure while Upgrading to an Above-Ground Storage Tank at the CFHT

Project Site: Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope, Waimea HI

Mentor: Ivan Look and Raycen Wong

Project Abstract:

To combat any loss of electrical power at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) summit facility, a diesel generator, fueled by a 5,000-gallon underground storage tank (UST), is used to power all critical systems and transition the observatory to a safe state.  However, potential leaks from USTs pose a risk to the soil and aquifers on and surrounding Mauna Kea.  Coupled with the difficult maintenance of USTs, this prompted the need for CFHT to both decommission its existing UST and upgrade to an above-ground storage tank (AST).  This project aimed to assist in both processes.  For the decommissioning phase of this project, we developed a procedure to follow if a release of diesel fuel was detected from the UST during sampling of the surrounding soil.  This procedure outlined the specific state and federal organizations that would need to be notified, as well as the required forms to be completed and actions taken to mitigate the leak.  For the upgrade to a new AST, the main issues to be addressed were storage capacity and tank location.  To determine the proper storage capacity, we consulted with several CFHT operations and instrumentation engineers to establish which critical systems required power and the amount of time necessary to restore the observatory to a safe state.  From these meetings, it was determined that the generator needed to operate for a minimum of 24 hours.  The generator consumes a maximum of 14 gallons of diesel fuel per hour, therefore a 300-gallon AST was chosen to partner with the 75-gallon day tank, for a run-time without refill of about 26.8 hours.  In order to integrate the AST into the day tank and generator configuration, a programmable logic controller (PLC) was programmed to create an automatic pumping system between the AST and day tank to feed the generator.  After contracting with the vendor, the final step is to create a detailed installation procedure for CFHT and the vendor, and to prepare the location for installation.