Matching Items (21)

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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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Methyl Laurate Production in Synechocystis

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To efficiently produce biofuels and meet the planet’s rising energy demands, different biofuel production methods need to be developed and improved. One of the ways is to produce fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, a versatile

To efficiently produce biofuels and meet the planet’s rising energy demands, different biofuel production methods need to be developed and improved. One of the ways is to produce fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, a versatile strain of cyanobacteria. In this thesis, Synechocystis was engineered to produce and excrete methyl laurate. In this pathway, first, lauroyl-ACP from fatty acid biosynthesis is converted to laurate by a thioesterase (TE) from Umbellularia californica. Then, the laurate is methylated to methyl laurate by a juvenile hormone acid O-methyltransferase (DmJHAMT) from Drosophila melanogaster. The TE/∆slr1609 strain of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 contains the TE gene and lacks the slr1609 gene encoding an acyl–acyl carrier protein synthetase, which functions in free fatty acid reuptake. The DmJHAMT gene was introduced into this strain for FAME production.
The DmJHAMT gene was cloned into a vector that contains neutral sites from the Synechocystis genome, making it suitable for homologous recombination, and a kanamycin resistance gene, for selection. The obtained plasmid was verified using restriction digests and Sanger sequencing. The sequence analysis and comparison of the cDNA in the obtained plasmid and the mRNA transcript of the same gene revealed three amino acid differences. Subsequent comparison with homologous genes in other Drosophila species revealed the differences in the cDNA match those of the other species, and thus, the gene most likely is functional.
The plasmid was transformed into Synechocystis, and PCRs were used to confirm proper integration and segregation. The TE/∆slr1609/DmJHAMT strain produced 62 mg/L methyl laurate in 12 days under a light intensity of 150 µmol photons m-2 s-1, bubbled with 0.5% CO2 at a rate of 30 mL/min, and supplemented with 0.5 mM methionine. The laurate levels did not decrease over time, but instead, remained stagnant after day 3. When the strain was grown in the same conditions without methionine, the laurate concentrations continued to increase above 400 µM, suggesting minimal methyl laurate production and thus a strong need for methionine supplementation. This work provides further evidence of the viability and success of the introduced FAME production pathway, and improved efficiency may be gained in the future.

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2020-05

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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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Analysis of Acyl Carrier Protein in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803

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Acyl Carrier Protein (ACP) is a small, acidic protein that plays an essential role in fatty acid synthesis by elongating fatty acid chains. ACP was isolated from an extract of a modified strain of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that contains

Acyl Carrier Protein (ACP) is a small, acidic protein that plays an essential role in fatty acid synthesis by elongating fatty acid chains. ACP was isolated from an extract of a modified strain of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that contains a thioesterase and from which the acyl-ACP synthetase has been deleted. Using ammonium sulfate precipitation to isolate a crude protein fraction containing ACP, immunoblot analysis was performed to determine relative amounts of free and acylated-ACP in the cell. The nature of fatty acids attached to ACP was determined by creating butylamide derivatives that were analyzed using GC/MS. Immunoblot analysis showed a roughly 1:1 ratio of acylated ACP to free ACP in the cell depending on the nutritional state of the cell. From GC/MS data it was determined that palmitic acid was the predominate component of acyl groups attached to ACP. The results indicate that there is a significant amount of acyl-ACP, a feedback inhibitor of early steps in the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway, in the cell. Moreover, the availability of free ACP may also limit fatty acid biosynthesis. Most likely it is necessary for ACP to be overexpressed or to have the palmitic acid cleaved off in order to synthesize optimal amounts of lauric acid to be used for cyanobacterial biofuel production.

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2016-05

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

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Performance Metrics of US Renewable Energy Initiatives

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This study was conducted to better understand the making and measuring of renewable energy goals by the federal government. Three different energy types are studied: wind, solar, and biofuel, for two different federal departments: the Department of Defense and the

This study was conducted to better understand the making and measuring of renewable energy goals by the federal government. Three different energy types are studied: wind, solar, and biofuel, for two different federal departments: the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. A statistical analysis and a meta-analysis of current literature will be the main pieces of information. These departments and energy types were chosen as they represent the highest potential for renewable energy production. It is important to understand any trends in goal setting by the federal government, as well as to understand what these trends represent in terms of predicting renewable energy production. The conclusion for this paper is that the federal government appears to set high goals for renewable energy initiatives. While the goals appear to be high, they are designed based on required characteristics described by the federal government. These characteristics are most often technological advancements, tax incentives, or increased production, with tax incentives having the highest priority. However, more often than not these characteristics are optimistic or simply not met. This leads to the resetting of goals before any goal can be evaluated, making it difficult to determine the goal-setting ability of the federal government.

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2015-05

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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