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Electro-selective Fermentation of Scenedesmus acutus algae for enhanced lipid extraction

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The microalgae Scenedesmus have been regarded as a potential source for biofuel production, having up to ~30% of dry weight as lipids used for biodiesel fuel production. Electro-selective fermentation (ESF) is a novel approach that can selectively degrade proteins

The microalgae Scenedesmus have been regarded as a potential source for biofuel production, having up to ~30% of dry weight as lipids used for biodiesel fuel production. Electro-selective fermentation (ESF) is a novel approach that can selectively degrade proteins and carbohydrates while conserving lipids within algal cells, while simultaneously enhancing lipid wet-extraction and biohydrogenation. ESF is a combination of SF and Microbial Electrolysis Cell (MEC) technologies. Experiments reported here prove that ESF is an effective means of enhancing lipid wet-extraction by ~50% and achieving 36% higher lipid saturation conversion, compared to SF, over 30 days of semi-continuous operation. Anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) residing on the anode surface produced a current that led to increased rate of organic substrate utilization, protein degradation, and ultimately enhanced lipid extraction and biohydrogenation that converted unsaturated to saturated fatty-acids. Thus, ESF provides a promising method for enhancing lipid extraction for biofuel production.

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2019-05

Algal Fuels: A Future Less Green than the Plant

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The algal fuel industry has existed since the 1980s without fully commercializing a product. Algal fuels are potentially viable replacements for fossil fuels due to their fast cultivation, high oil content, carbon dioxide sequestration during growth, and ability to

The algal fuel industry has existed since the 1980s without fully commercializing a product. Algal fuels are potentially viable replacements for fossil fuels due to their fast cultivation, high oil content, carbon dioxide sequestration during growth, and ability to be grown on non-arable land. For this thesis, six companies from 61 investigated were interviewed about their history with biofuels, technological changes they have gone through, and views for the future of the industry. All companies interviewed have moved away from fuel production largely due to high production costs and have moved primarily toward pharmaceuticals and animal feed production as well as wastewater treatment. While most do not plan to return to the biofuel industry in the near future, a return would likely require additional legislation, increased technological innovation, and coproduction of multiple products.

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2019-05

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Exploring the consequences of permeate recycling in a photobioreactor using multi-component, community-level modelling

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While biodiesel production from photosynthesizing algae is a promising form of alternative energy, the process is water and nutrient intensive. I designed a mathematical model for a photobioreactor system that filters the reactor effluent and returns the permeate to the

While biodiesel production from photosynthesizing algae is a promising form of alternative energy, the process is water and nutrient intensive. I designed a mathematical model for a photobioreactor system that filters the reactor effluent and returns the permeate to the system so that unutilized nutrients are not wasted, addressing these problems. The model tracks soluble and biomass components that govern the rates of the processes within the photobioreactor (PBR). It considers light attenuation and inhibition, nutrient limitation, preference for ammonia consumption over nitrate, production of soluble microbial products (SMP) and extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), and competition with heterotrophic bacteria that predominately consume SMP. I model a continuous photobioreactor + microfiltration system under nine unique operation conditions - three dilution rates and three recycling rates. I also evaluate the health of a PBR under different dilution rates for two values of qpred. I evaluate the success of each run by calculating values such as biomass productivity and specific biomass yield. The model shows that for low dilution rates (D = <0.2 d-1) and high recycling rates (>66%), nutrient limitation can lead to a PBR crash. In balancing biomass productivity with water conservation, the most favorable runs were those in which the dilution rate and the recycling rate were highest. In a second part of my thesis, I developed a model that describes the interactions of phototrophs and their predators. The model also shows that dilution rates corresponding to realistic PBR operation can washout predators from the system, but the simulation outputs depend heavily on the accuracy of parameters that are not well defined.

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2018-05

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Determination of Higher Heating Value for Algal Products

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Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae represents one of many pathways for the sustainable replacement of fossil fuels in transportation. When processing and researching algal biofuel, determination of the higher heating value (HHV) is paramount. Bomb calorimetry represents to current method for

Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae represents one of many pathways for the sustainable replacement of fossil fuels in transportation. When processing and researching algal biofuel, determination of the higher heating value (HHV) is paramount. Bomb calorimetry represents to current method for direct determination of HHV. When determining HHV’s indirectly, the industry standard is using one of many linear correlations relating elemental composition to HHV. Most of these correlations were developed from coal industry data, meaning that they do not necessarily fit algal product data well. In this study bomb calorimetry data and CHNS/O elemental composition data were collected for Chlorella, Micract, GS 5587.1, Kirchnella, and Gal 87.1 MM8 algae species. This data was added to CHNS/O and HHV values for other algal products in literature, and utilized to test the accuracy of the Dulong, Gumz, Vandralek and Boie correlations for algae products. Several preliminary algae specific correlations were proposed through a linear regression model of the data. Of the 5 samples tested, Kirchnella exhibited the highest HHV (23.2405 ± 0.0216 MJ/kg) and Chlorella exhibited the lowest (20.2055 ± 0.0484 MJ/kg). For both the experimental, and literature CHNS/O vs HHV data, the Vandralek and Boie correlations provided the best approximations in this study. For the totality of the data collected and researched in this study, 6 of 8 proposed correlations outperformed the Vandralek equation for HHV approximation. The most promising proposed correlations incorporated multiple linear regressions for elemental fractions of CHS, CHSO and CHNSO. Being that only 20 distinct algal product samples were regressed to create the proposed correlations, more data should be incorporated before publication of a final correlation. This study should serve as a starting point for the compilation of an exhaustive database for algal product assay and HHV data.

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2017-05

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Backend Construction of a Web Service

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A growing number of stylists \u2014 cosmetologists \u2014 are finding it harder to afford the basic necessities such as rent. However, the ever-increasing presence of smartphones and the increasing need for on-demand services like Uber and Uber Eats creates a

A growing number of stylists \u2014 cosmetologists \u2014 are finding it harder to afford the basic necessities such as rent. However, the ever-increasing presence of smartphones and the increasing need for on-demand services like Uber and Uber Eats creates a unique opportunity for stylists \u2014 Clippr. Clippr is an application that aims to connect individual stylists directly to their customers. The application gives stylists a platform to create and display their own prices, services, and portfolio. Customers get the benefit of finding a stylist that suits them and booking instantly. This project outlines the backend for the Clippr application. It goes over the framework, REST API, and various functionalities of the application. Additionally, the project also covers the work that is still needed to successfully launch the application.

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2017-05

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Temperature dependency on baseline of polymer modified Tuning Forks

Description

Polymer modified tuning fork-based sensors were fabricated to assure reproducibility. The effect of system valve switching on the modified tuning fork-based sensors was studied at the different temperature. The response to Xylene gas sample on stabilized modified tuning fork-based sensors

Polymer modified tuning fork-based sensors were fabricated to assure reproducibility. The effect of system valve switching on the modified tuning fork-based sensors was studied at the different temperature. The response to Xylene gas sample on stabilized modified tuning fork-based sensors with temperature was defined while learning about the key analytical performance for chemical sensors to be used in the real-world application.

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2017-05

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Converting Combustion By-Products to Useful Chemicals and Fuels

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In the pursuit of sustainable sources of energy that do less harm to the environment, numerous technologies have been developed to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. The implementation of carbon capture and storage systems (CCS) has played a crucial

In the pursuit of sustainable sources of energy that do less harm to the environment, numerous technologies have been developed to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere. The implementation of carbon capture and storage systems (CCS) has played a crucial role in reducing CO2 emissions, but depleting storage reserves and ever-increasing costs of sequestrating captured CO2 has prompted the idea of utilizing CO2 as soon as it is produced (i.e. carbon capture and utilization, or CCU) and storing any remaining amounts. This project analyzes the cost of implementing a delafossite CuFeO2 backed CCU system for the average US coal-burning power plant with respect to current amounts of CO2 captured. Beyond comparing annual maintenance costs of CCU and CCS systems, the project extends previous work done on direct CO2 conversion to liquid hydrocarbons by providing a protocol for determining how the presence of NO affects the products formed during pure CO2 hydrogenation. Overall, the goal is to gauge the applicability of CCU systems to power plants with a sub 10-year lifespan left, whilst observing the potential revenue that can be potentially generated from CCU implementation. Under current energy costs ($0.12 per kWh), a delafossite CuFeO2 supported CCU system would generate over $729 thousand in profit for an average sized supercritical pulverized coal power (SCPC) plants selling diesel fuel created from CO2 hydrogenation. This amount far exceeds the cost of storing captured CO2 and suggests that CCU systems can be profitable for SCPC power plants that intend to burn coal until 2025.

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2018-05

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Carbon Dioxide Separation by Ceramic-Carbonate Dual-Phase Membranes and Process Design for Membrane Reactor in IGCC Power Plant

Description

Currently, approximately 40% of the world’s electricity is generated from coal and coal power plants are one of the major sources of greenhouse gases accounting for a third of all CO2 emissions. The Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) has

Currently, approximately 40% of the world’s electricity is generated from coal and coal power plants are one of the major sources of greenhouse gases accounting for a third of all CO2 emissions. The Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) has been shown to provide an increase in plant efficiency compared to traditional coal-based power generation processes resulting in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The goal of this project was to analyze the performance of a new SNDC ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membrane for CO2 separation. The chemical formula for the SNDC-carbonate membrane was Sm0.075Nd0.075Ce0.85O1.925. This project also focused on the use of this membrane for pre-combustion CO2 capture coupled with a water gas shift (WGS) reaction for a 1000 MW power plant. The addition of this membrane to the traditional IGCC process provides a purer H2 stream for combustion in the gas turbine and results in lower operating costs and increased efficiencies for the plant. At 900 °C the CO2 flux and permeance of the SNDC-carbonate membrane were 0.65 mL/cm2•min and 1.0×10-7 mol/m2•s•Pa, respectively. Detailed in this report are the following: background regarding CO2 separation membranes and IGCC power plants, SNDC tubular membrane preparation and characterization, IGCC with membrane reactor plant design, process heat and mass balance, and plant cost estimations.

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2014-05

Process Design and Refinement for Bioproduction of Sustainable Butanol

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This document outlines the research work done by Shona Becwar in the process design and refinement for the production of sustainable butanol from Clostridium, along with the required background knowledge on the subject. The process that the microbiological organisms go

This document outlines the research work done by Shona Becwar in the process design and refinement for the production of sustainable butanol from Clostridium, along with the required background knowledge on the subject. The process that the microbiological organisms go through to produce butanol must be an oxygen free environment for up to 21 days with multiple perforations made into the environment in this period. There was not previously a cost effective method to do this, even in small scale. It was determined that using a butyl rubber septa would allow for the environment to be sustained during the growth process. The pervaporation process was losing butanol product at a rate of approximately 60%, changing the tubing from silicon to stainless steel allowed for a mere 7% loss during the separation process, greatly increasing the prospective of upscaling this process. These improvements to the sustainable butanol production process will allow for a more efficient, therefore more economically competitive product which can be used as a drop in equivalent to the current butanol market.

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2016-05

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Synthesis and Characterization of Thin Supported PDMS/ZIF-71 Films for Pervaporative Biofuel Recovery

Description

The recovery of biofuels permits renewable alternatives to present day fossil fuels that cause devastating effects on the planet. Pervaporation is a separation process that shows promise for the separation of ethanol from biologically fermentation broths. The performance of thin

The recovery of biofuels permits renewable alternatives to present day fossil fuels that cause devastating effects on the planet. Pervaporation is a separation process that shows promise for the separation of ethanol from biologically fermentation broths. The performance of thin film composite membranes of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and zeolite imidazolate frameworks (ZIF-71) dip coated onto a porous substrate are analyzed. Pervaporation performance factors of flux, separation factor and selectivity are measured for varying ZIF-71 loadings of pure PDMS, 5 wt%, 12.5 wt% and 25 wt% at 60 oC with a 2 wt% ethanol/water feed. The increase in ZIF-71 loadings increased the performance of PDMS to produce higher flux, higher separation factor and high selectivity than pure polymeric films.

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2014-05