Matching Items (6)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

132617-Thumbnail Image.png

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

Description

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2019-05

Algal Fuels: A Future Less Green than the Plant

Description

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2019-05

Heterogeneous Catalysis for Organic Reactions

Description

This honors thesis is focused on two separate catalysis projects conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Javier Pérez-Ramírez at ETH Zürich. The first project explored ethylene oxychlorination over supported europium oxychloride catalysts. The second project investigated alkyne semihydrogenation over nickel

This honors thesis is focused on two separate catalysis projects conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Javier Pérez-Ramírez at ETH Zürich. The first project explored ethylene oxychlorination over supported europium oxychloride catalysts. The second project investigated alkyne semihydrogenation over nickel phosphide catalysts. This work is the subject of a publication of which I am a co-author, as cited below.

Project 1 Abstract: Ethylene Oxychlorination
The current two-step process for the industrial process of vinyl chloride production involves CuCl2 catalyzed ethylene oxychlorination to ethylene dichloride followed by thermal cracking of the latter to vinyl chloride. To date, no industrial application of a one-step process is available. To close this gap, this work evaluates a wide range of self-prepared supported CeO2 and EuOCl catalysts for one-step production of vinyl chloride from ethylene in a fixed-bed reactor at 623 773 K and 1 bar using feed ratios of C2H4:HCl:O2:Ar:He = 3:3 6:1.5 6:3:82 89.5. Among all studied systems, CeO2/ZrO2 and CeO2/Zeolite MS show the highest activity but suffer from severe combustion of ethylene, forming COx, while 20 wt.% EuOCl/γ-Al2O3 leads to the best vinyl chloride selectivity of 87% at 15.6% C2H4 conversion with complete suppression of CO2 formation and only 4% selectivity to CO conversion for over 100 h on stream. Characterization by XRD and EDX mapping reveals that much of the Eu is present in non-active phases such as Al2Eu or EuAl4, indicating that alternative synthesis methods could be employed to better utilize the metal. A linear relationship between conversion and metal loading is found for this catalyst, indicating that always part of the used Eu is available as EuOCl, while the rest forms inactive europium aluminate species. Zeolite-supported EuOCl slightly outperforms EuOCl/γ Al2O3 in terms of total yield, but is prone to significant coking and is unstable. Even though a lot of Eu seems locked in inactive species on EuOCl/γ Al2O3, these results indicate possible savings of nearly 16,000 USD per kg of catalyst compared to a bulk EuOCl catalyst. These very promising findings constitute a crucial step for process intensification of polyvinyl chloride production and exploring the potential of supported EuOCl catalysts in industrially-relevant reactions.

Project 2 Abstract: Alkyne Semihydrogenation
Despite strongly suffering from poor noble metal utilization and a highly toxic selectivity modifier (Pb), the archetypal catalyst applied for the three-phase alkyne semihydrogenation, the Pb-doped Pd/CaCO3 (Lindlar catalyst), is still being utilized at industrial level. Inspired by the very recent strategies involving the modification of Pd with p-block elements (i.e., S), this work extrapolates the concept by preparing crystalline metal phosphides with controlled stoichiometry. To develop an affordable and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional hydrogenation catalysts, nickel, a metal belonging to the same group as Pd and capable of splitting molecular hydrogen has been selected. Herein, a simple two-step synthesis procedure involving nontoxic precursors was used to synthesize bulk nickel phosphides with different stoichiometries (Ni2P, Ni5P4, and Ni12P5) by controlling the P:Ni ratios. To uncover structural and surface features, this catalyst family is characterized with an array of methods including X-ray diffraction (XRD), 31P magic-angle nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS-NMR) spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Bulk-sensitive techniques prove the successful preparation of pure phases while XPS analysis unravels the facile passivation occurring at the NixPy surface that persists even after reductive treatment. To assess the characteristic surface fingerprints of these materials, Ar sputtering was carried out at different penetration depths, reveling the presence of Ni+ and P-species. Continuous-flow three-phase hydrogenations of short-chain acetylenic compounds display that the oxidized layer covering the surface is reduced under reaction conditions, as evidenced by the induction period before reaching the steady state performance. To assess the impact of the phosphidation treatment on catalytic performance, the catalysts were benchmarked against a commercial Ni/SiO2-Al2O3 sample. While Ni/SiO2-Al2O3 presents very low selectivity to the alkene (the selectivity is about 10% at full conversion) attributed to the well-known tendency of naked nickel nanoparticles to form hydrides, the performance of nickel phosphides is highly selective and independent of P:Ni ratio. In line with previous findings on PdxS, kinetic tests indicate the occurrence of a dual-site mechanism where the alkyne and hydrogen do not compete for the same site.

This work is the subject of a publication of which I am a co-author, as cited below.

D. Albani; K. Karajovic; B. Tata; Q. Li; S. Mitchell; N. López; J. Pérez-Ramírez. Ensemble Design in Nickel Phosphide Catalysts for Alkyne Semi-Hydrogenation. ChemCatChem 2019. doi.org/10.1002/cctc.201801430

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2019-05

134453-Thumbnail Image.png

Determination of Higher Heating Value for Algal Products

Description

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017-05

132228-Thumbnail Image.png

Production of Biofuel from Algae and Salicornia using Hydrothermal Liquefaction (HTL) Technique

Description

Fossil fuels have been the primary source of energy in the world for many decades. However, they are among the top contributors of the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The objective of this research was to produce a more

Fossil fuels have been the primary source of energy in the world for many decades. However, they are among the top contributors of the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The objective of this research was to produce a more environmentally friendly biofuel from Algae-Helix and Salicornia biomasses. Experiments were conducted using a hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technique in the HTL reactor to produce biofuel that can potentially replace fossil fuel usage. Hydrothermal Liquefaction is a method used to convert the biomass into the biofuels. HTL experiments on Algae-Helix and Salicornia at 200°C-350°C and 430psi were performed to investigate the effect of temperature on the biocrude yield of the respective biomass used. The effect of the biomass mixture (co-liquefaction) of Salicornia and algae on the amount of biocrude produced was also explored. The biocrude and biochar (by-product) obtained from the hydrothermal liquefaction process were also analyzed using thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA). The maximum biocrude yield for the algae-helix biomass and for the Salicornia biomass were both obtained at 300°C which were 34.63% and 7.65% respectively. The co-liquefaction of the two biomasses by 50:50 provided a maximum yield of 17.26% at 250°C. The co-liquefaction of different ratios explored at 250°C and 300°C concluded that Salicornia to algae-helix ratio of 20:80 produced the highest yields of 22.70% and 31.97%. These results showed that co-liquefaction of biomass if paired well with the optimizing temperature can produce a high biocrude yield. The TGA profiles investigated have shown that salicornia has higher levels of ash content in comparison with the algae-helix. It was then recommended that for a mixture of algae and Salicornia, large-scale biofuel production should be conducted at 250℃ in a 20:80 salicornia to algae biocrude ratio, since it lowers energy needs. The high biochar content left can be recycled to optimize biomass, and prevent wastage.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2019-05

147875-Thumbnail Image.png

The Evaluation of Algae-Derived Activated Carbon Adsorbents for Direct CO2 Capture from Ambient Air

Description

Temperature swing adsorption is a commonly used gas separation technique, and is being<br/>further researched as a method of carbon capture. Carbon capture is becoming increasingly<br/>important as a potential way to slow global warming. In this study, algae-derived activated<br/>carbon adsorbents were

Temperature swing adsorption is a commonly used gas separation technique, and is being<br/>further researched as a method of carbon capture. Carbon capture is becoming increasingly<br/>important as a potential way to slow global warming. In this study, algae-derived activated<br/>carbon adsorbents were analyzed for their carbon dioxide adsorption effectiveness.<br/>Algae-derived carbon adsorbents were synthesized and then studied for their adsorption<br/>isotherms and adsorption breakthrough behavior. From the generated isotherm plots, it was<br/>determined that the carbonization temperature was not high enough and that more batches of<br/>adsorbent would have to be made to more accurately analyze the adsorptive potential of the<br/>algae-derived carbon adsorbent.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2021-05