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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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Temperature dependency on baseline of polymer modified Tuning Forks

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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

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Design of an Ethanol Fermentation Plant

Description

Ethanol is a widely used biofuel in the United States that is typically produced through the fermentation of biomass feedstocks. Demand for ethanol has grown significantly from 2000 to 2015 chiefly due to a desire to increase energy independence and

Ethanol is a widely used biofuel in the United States that is typically produced through the fermentation of biomass feedstocks. Demand for ethanol has grown significantly from 2000 to 2015 chiefly due to a desire to increase energy independence and reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases associated with transportation. As demand grows, new ethanol plants must be developed in order for supply to meet demand. This report covers some of the major considerations in developing these new plants such as the type of biomass used, feed treatment process, and product separation and investigates their effect on the economic viability and environmental benefits of the ethanol produced. The dry grind process for producing ethanol from corn, the most common method of production, is examined in greater detail. Analysis indicates that this process currently has the highest capacity for production and profitability but limited effect on greenhouse gas emissions compared to less common alternatives.

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2015-05

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Sustainable Soil Improvement via Abiotic Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

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Calcium hydroxide carbonation processes were studied to investigate the potential for abiotic soil improvement. Different mixtures of common soil constituents such as sand, clay, and granite were mixed with a calcium hydroxide slurry and carbonated at approximately 860 psi. While

Calcium hydroxide carbonation processes were studied to investigate the potential for abiotic soil improvement. Different mixtures of common soil constituents such as sand, clay, and granite were mixed with a calcium hydroxide slurry and carbonated at approximately 860 psi. While the carbonation was successful and calcite formation was strong on sample exteriors, a 4 mm passivating boundary layer effect was observed, impeding the carbonation process at the center. XRD analysis was used to characterize the extent of carbonation, indicating extremely poor carbonation and therefore CO2 penetration inside the visible boundary. The depth of the passivating layer was found to be independent of both time and choice of aggregate. Less than adequate strength was developed in carbonated trials due to formation of small, weakly-connected crystals, shown with SEM analysis. Additional research, especially in situ analysis with thermogravimetric analysis would be useful to determine the causation of poor carbonation performance. This technology has great potential to substitute for certain Portland cement applications if these issues can be addressed.

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2015-05

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Engineering High Yield Production of L-Serine in Cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002

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Cyanobacteria have the potential to efficiently produce L-serine, an industrially important amino acid, directly from CO2 and sunlight, which is a more sustainable and inexpensive source of energy as compared to current methods. The research aims to engineer a strain

Cyanobacteria have the potential to efficiently produce L-serine, an industrially important amino acid, directly from CO2 and sunlight, which is a more sustainable and inexpensive source of energy as compared to current methods. The research aims to engineer a strain of Cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 that increases L-serine production by mutating regulatory mechanisms that natively inhibit its production and encoding an exporter. While an excess of L-serine was not found in the supernatant of the cell cultures, with further fine tuning of the metabolic pathway and culture conditions, high titers of L-serine can be found. With the base strain engineered, the work can be extended and optimized by deleting degradation pathways, tuning gene expression levels, optimizing growth conditions, and investigating the effects of nitrogen supplementation for the strain.

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2020-05

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Plastics and Environmental Health: The Road Ahead

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Plastics continue to benefit society in innumerable ways, even though recent public focus on plastics has centered mostly on human health and environmental concerns, including their endocrine-disrupting properties and the long-term pollution they represent. The benefits of plastics are particularly

Plastics continue to benefit society in innumerable ways, even though recent public focus on plastics has centered mostly on human health and environmental concerns, including their endocrine-disrupting properties and the long-term pollution they represent. The benefits of plastics are particularly apparent in medicine and public health. Plastics are versatile, cost-effective, require less energy to produce than alternative materials like metal or glass, and can be manufactured to have many different properties. Due to these characteristics, polymers are used in diverse health applications like disposable syringes and intravenous bags, sterile packaging for medical instruments as well as in joint replacements, tissue engineering, etc. However, not all current uses of plastics are prudent and sustainable, as illustrated by the widespread, unwanted human exposure to endocrine-disrupting bisphenol A (BPA) and di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), problems arising from the large quantities of plastic being disposed of, and depletion of non-renewable petroleum resources as a result of the ever-increasing mass production of plastic consumer articles. Using the health-care sector as example, this review concentrates on the benefits and downsides of plastics and identifies opportunities to change the composition and disposal practices of these invaluable polymers for a more sustainable future consumption. It highlights ongoing efforts to phase out DEHP and BPA in the health-care and food industry and discusses biodegradable options for plastic packaging, opportunities for reducing plastic medical waste, and recycling in medical facilities in the quest to reap a maximum of benefits from polymers without compromising human health or the environment in the process.

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2013-05

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An Environmental and Economic Analysis of The Near Future of Lithium Ion Batteries

Description

Lithium ion batteries are quintessential components of modern life. They are used to power smart devices — phones, tablets, laptops, and are rapidly becoming major elements in the automotive industry. Demand projections for lithium are skyrocketing with production struggling to

Lithium ion batteries are quintessential components of modern life. They are used to power smart devices — phones, tablets, laptops, and are rapidly becoming major elements in the automotive industry. Demand projections for lithium are skyrocketing with production struggling to keep up pace. This drive is due mostly to the rapid adoption of electric vehicles; sales of electric vehicles in 2020 are more than double what they were only a year prior. With such staggering growth it is important to understand how lithium is sourced and what that means for the environment. Will production even be capable of meeting the demand as more industries make use of this valuable element? How will the environmental impact of lithium affect growth? This thesis attempts to answer these questions as the world looks to a decade of rapid growth for lithium ion batteries.

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2021-05

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Engineering a Co-Culture of Bacteria and Yeast for the Production of Renewable p-Coumaric Acid

Description

p-Coumaric acid is used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries due to its versatile properties. While prevalent in nature, harvesting the compound from natural sources is inefficient, requiring large quantities of producing crops and numerous extraction and purification steps.

p-Coumaric acid is used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries due to its versatile properties. While prevalent in nature, harvesting the compound from natural sources is inefficient, requiring large quantities of producing crops and numerous extraction and purification steps. Thus, the large-scale production of the compound is both difficult and costly. This research aims to produce p-coumarate directly from renewable and sustainable glucose using a co-culture of Yeast and E. Coli. Methods used in this study include: designing optimal media for mixed-species microbial growth, genetically engineering both strains to build the production pathway with maximum yield, and analyzing the presence of p-Coumarate and its pathway intermediates using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). To date, the results of this project include successful integration of C4H activity into the yeast strain BY4741 ∆FDC1, yielding a strain that completely consumed trans-cinnamate (initial concentration of 50 mg/L) and produced ~56 mg/L p-coumarate, a resting cell assay of the co-culture that produced 0.23 mM p-coumarate from an initial L-Phenylalanine concentration of 1.14 mM, and toxicity tests that confirmed the toxicity of trans-cinnamate to yeast for concentrations above ~50 mg/L. The hope for this project is to create a feasible method for producing p-Coumarate sustainably.

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2016-12