Matching Items (17)

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A Sustainable Approach to Wastewater Treatment Using Microbial Fuel Cells with Peroxide Production

Description

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) promote the sustainable conversion of organic matter in black water to electrical current, enabling the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) while making waste water treatment energy

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) promote the sustainable conversion of organic matter in black water to electrical current, enabling the production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) while making waste water treatment energy neutral or positive. H2O2 is useful in remote locations such as U.S. military forward operating bases (FOBs) for on-site tertiary water treatment or as a medical disinfectant, among many other uses. Various carbon-based catalysts and binders for use at the cathode of a an MFC for H2O2 production are explored using linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) and rotating ring-disk electrode (RRDE) techniques. The oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) at the cathode has slow kinetics at conditions present in the MFC, making it important to find a catalyst type and loading which promote a 2e- (rather than 4e-) reaction to maximize H2O2 formation. Using LSV methods, I compared the cathodic overpotentials associated with graphite and Vulcan carbon catalysts as well as Nafion and AS-4 binders. Vulcan carbon catalyst with Nafion binder produced the lowest overpotentials of any binder/catalyst combinations. Additionally, I determined that pH control may be required at the cathode due to large potential losses caused by hydroxide (OH-) concentration gradients. Furthermore, RRDE tests indicate that Vulcan carbon catalyst with a Nafion binder has a higher H2O2 production efficiency at lower catalyst loadings, but the trade-off is a greater potential loss due to higher activation energy. Therefore, an intermediate catalyst loading of 0.5 mg/cm2 Vulcan carbon with Nafion binder is recommended for the final MFC design. The chosen catalyst, binder, and loading will maximize H2O2 production, optimize MFC performance, and minimize the need for additional energy input into the system.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Urban Forestry as a Carbon Offset Method at ASU West Campus

Description

As part of Arizona State University’s net-zero carbon initiative, 1000 mesquite trees were planted on a vacant plot of land at West Campus to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Urban

As part of Arizona State University’s net-zero carbon initiative, 1000 mesquite trees were planted on a vacant plot of land at West Campus to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Urban forestry is typically a method of carbon capture in temperate areas, but it is hypothesized that the same principle can be employed in arid regions as well. To test this hypothesis a carbon model was constructed using the pools and fluxes measured at the Carbon sink and learning forest at West Campus. As an ideal, another carbon model was constructed for the mature mesquite forest at the Hassayampa River Preserve to project how the carbon cycle at West Campus could change over time as the forest matures. The results indicate that the West Campus plot currently functions as a carbon source while the site at the Hassayampa river preserve currently functions as a carbon sink. Soil composition at both sites differ with inorganic carbon contributing to the largest percentage at West Campus, and organic carbon at Hassayampa. Predictive modeling using biomass accumulation estimates and photosynthesis rates for the Carbon Sink Forest at West Campus both predict approximately 290 metric tons of carbon sequestration after 30 years. Modeling net ecosystem exchange predicts that the West Campus plot will begin to act as a carbon sink after 33 years.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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MEASURING AIR QUALITY USING WIRELESS SELF-POWERED DEVICES

Description

High concentrations of carbon monoxide and particulate matter can cause respiratory disease, illness, and death in high doses. Air pollution is a concern in many urban areas of emerging markets

High concentrations of carbon monoxide and particulate matter can cause respiratory disease, illness, and death in high doses. Air pollution is a concern in many urban areas of emerging markets that rely on outdated technologies for transportation and electricity generation; rural air quality is also a concern when noting the high prevalence of products of incomplete combustion resulting from open fires for cooking and heating. Monitoring air quality is an essential step to identifying these and other factors that affect air quality, and thereafter informing engineering and policy decisions to improve the quality of air. This study seeks to measure changes in air quality across spatial and temporal domains, with a specific focus on microclimates within an urban area. A prototype, low-cost air quality monitoring device has been developed to measure the concentrations of particulate matter, ozone, and carbon monoxide multiple times per minute. The device communicates data wirelessly via cell towers, and can run off-grid using a solar PV-battery system. The device can be replicated and deployed across urban regions for high-fidelity emissions monitoring to explore the effect of anthropogenic and environmental factors on intra-hour air quality. Hardware and software used in the device is described, and the wireless data communication protocols and capabilities are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Synthesis and characterization of microporous inorganic membranes for propylene/propane separation

Description

Membrane-based gas separation is promising for efficient propylene/propane (C3H6/C3H8) separation with low energy consumption and minimum environment impact. Two microporous inorganic membrane candidates, MFI-type zeolite membrane and carbon molecular sieve

Membrane-based gas separation is promising for efficient propylene/propane (C3H6/C3H8) separation with low energy consumption and minimum environment impact. Two microporous inorganic membrane candidates, MFI-type zeolite membrane and carbon molecular sieve membrane (CMS) have demonstrated excellent thermal and chemical stability. Application of these membranes into C3H6/C3H8 separation has not been well investigated. This dissertation presents fundamental studies on membrane synthesis, characterization and C3H6/C3H8 separation properties of MFI zeolite membrane and CMS membrane.

MFI zeolite membranes were synthesized on α-alumina supports by secondary growth method. Novel positron annihilation spectroscopy (PAS) techniques were used to non-destructively characterize the pore structure of these membranes. PAS reveals a bimodal pore structure consisting of intracrystalline zeolitic micropores of ~0.6 nm in diameter and irregular intercrystalline micropores of 1.4 to 1.8 nm in size for the membranes. The template-free synthesized membrane exhibited a high permeance but a low selectivity in C3H6/C3H8 mixture separation.

CMS membranes were synthesized by coating/pyrolysis method on mesoporous γ-alumina support. Such supports allow coating of thin, high-quality polymer films and subsequent CMS membranes with no infiltration into support pores. The CMS membranes show strong molecular sieving effect, offering a high C3H6/C3H8 mixture selectivity of ~30. Reduction in membrane thickness from 500 nm to 300 nm causes an increase in C3H8 permeance and He/N2 selectivity, but a decrease in the permeance of He, N2 and C3H6 and C3H6/C3H8 selectivity. This can be explained by the thickness dependent chain mobility of the polymer film resulting in final carbon membrane of reduced pore size with different effects on transport of gas of different sizes, including possible closure of C3H6-accessible micropores.

CMS membranes demonstrate excellent C3H6/C3H8 separation performance over a wide range of feed pressure, composition and operation temperature. No plasticization was observed at a feed pressure up to 100 psi. The permeation and separation is mainly controlled by diffusion instead of adsorption. CMS membrane experienced a decline in permeance, and an increase in selectivity over time under on-stream C3H6/C3H8 separation. This aging behavior is due to the reduction in effective pore size and porosity caused by oxygen chemisorption and physical aging of the membrane structure.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Stable isotope analysis of archaeological and modern micromammals from the Greater Cape Floristic Region near Pinnacle Point, on the south coast of South Africa

Description

The Middle Stone Age archaeological record from the south coast of South Africa contains significant evidence for early modern human behavior. The south coast is within the modern Greater Cape

The Middle Stone Age archaeological record from the south coast of South Africa contains significant evidence for early modern human behavior. The south coast is within the modern Greater Cape Floristic Region (GCFR), which in the present-day encompasses the entirety of South Africa’s Winter Rainfall Zone (WRZ) and contains unique vegetation elements that have been hypothesized to be of high utility to hunter-gatherer populations. Extant paleoenvironmental proxy records for the Pleistocene in the region often indicate evidence for more open environments during the past than occur in the area in the present-day, while climate models suggest glacial presence of the WRZ that would support maintenance of C3-predominant GCFR vegetation.

These paleoenvironmental proxies sample past environments at geographic scales that are often regional. The GCFR flora is hyper-diverse, and glacial climate change-driven impacts on local vegetation could have been highly variable over relatively small geographic scales. Proxy records that are circumscribed in their geographic scale are thus key to our understanding of ancient environments at particular MSA archaeological localities.

Micromammal fossil teeth are now recognized as an abundant potential reservoir of paleoenvironmental proxy data at an extremely local scale. This study analyzed modern micromammal teeth obtained from raptor pellets at three locations on the south coast. Stable carbon isotope analysis indicates that the modern micromammals from the taxa sampled consume a wide range of δ13Cplant on the landscape when it is available, and thus stable carbon isotope analysis of micromammal teeth should act as a proxy for the range of available δ13Cdiet in a circumscribed area of vegetation.

Micromammal stable carbon isotope data obtained from specimens from one of the few well-dated MIS6-MIS5 sequences in the region (Pinnacle Point sites 13B, 30, and 9C). δ13Cenamel values for the taxa sampled indicate diets that are primarily C3, and there is almost no evidence for a dietary C4 grass component in any of the sampled specimens. This indicates that, at a minimum, pockets of C3 vegetation associated with the GCFR were likely available to hunter-gatherers at Pinnacle Point throughout the Middle and Late Pleistocene.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Optimization of an atmospheric carbon source for extremophile cyanobacteria

Description

This thesis examines the use of the moisture swing resin materials employed at the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions (CNCE) in order to provide carbon dioxide from ambient air to

This thesis examines the use of the moisture swing resin materials employed at the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions (CNCE) in order to provide carbon dioxide from ambient air to photobioreactors containing extremophile cyanobacteria cultured at the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI). For this purpose, a carbon dioxide feeding device was designed, built, and tested. The results indicate how much resin should be used with a given volume of algae medium: approximately 500 grams of resin can feed 1% CO2 at about three liters per minute to a ten liter medium of the Galdieria sulphuraria 5587.1 strain for one hour (equivalent to about 0.1 grams of carbon dioxide per hour per seven grams of algae). Using the resin device, the algae grew within their normal growth range: 0.096 grams of ash-free dry weight per liter over a six hour period. Future applications in which the resin-to-algae process can be utilized are discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Synthesis, characterization, and application of hollow carbon nanostructures

Description

This dissertation describes fundamental studies of hollow carbon nanostructures, which may be used as electrodes for practical energy storage applications such as batteries or supercapacitors. Electron microscopy is heavily utilized

This dissertation describes fundamental studies of hollow carbon nanostructures, which may be used as electrodes for practical energy storage applications such as batteries or supercapacitors. Electron microscopy is heavily utilized for the nanoscale characterization. To control the morphology of hollow carbon nanostructures, ZnO nanowires serve as sacrificial templates. The first part of this dissertation focuses on the optimization of synthesis parameters and the scale-up production of ZnO nanowires by vapor transport method. Uniform ZnO nanowires with 40 nm width can be produced by using 1100 °C reaction temperature and 20 sccm oxygen flow rate, which are the two most important parameters.

The use of ethanol as carbon source with or without water steam provides uniform carbonaceous deposition on ZnO nanowire templates. The amount of as-deposited carbonaceous material can be controlled by reaction temperature and reaction time. Due to the catalytic property of ZnO surface, the thicknesses of carbonaceous layers are typically in nanometers. Different methods to remove the ZnO templates are explored, of which hydrogen reduction at temperatures higher than 700 °C is most efficient. The ZnO templates can also be removed under ethanol environment, but the temperatures need to be higher than 850 °C for practical use.

Characterizations of hollow carbon nanofibers show that the hollow carbon nanostructures have a high specific surface area (>1100 m2/g) with the presence of mesopores (~3.5 nm). The initial data on energy storage as electrodes of electrochemical double layer capacitors show that high specific capacitance (> 220 F/g) can be obtained, which is related to the high surface area and unique porous hollow structure with a thin wall.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Carbon nanomaterials for energy storage, actuators and environmental applications

Description

Carbon nanomaterials have caught tremendous attention in the last few decades due to their unique physical and chemical properties. Tremendous effort has been made to develop new synthesis techniques for

Carbon nanomaterials have caught tremendous attention in the last few decades due to their unique physical and chemical properties. Tremendous effort has been made to develop new synthesis techniques for carbon nanomaterials and investigate their properties for different applications. In this work, carbon nanospheres (CNSs), carbon foams (CF), and single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) were studied for various applications, including water treatment, energy storage, actuators, and sensors.

A facile spray pyrolysis synthesis technique was developed to synthesize individual CNSs with specific surface area (SSA) up to 1106 m2/g. The hollow CNSs showed adsorption of up to 300 mg rhodamine B dye per gram carbon, which is more than 15 times higher than that observed for conventional carbon black. They were also evaluated as adsorbents for removal of arsenate and selenate from water and displayed good binding to both species, outperforming commercial activated carbons for arsenate removal in pH > 8. When evaluated as supercapacitor electrode materials, specific capacitances of up to 112 F/g at a current density of 0.1 A/g were observed. When used as Li-ion battery anode materials, the CNSs achieved a discharge capacity of 270 mAh/g at a current density of 372 mA/g (1C), which is 4-fold higher than that of commercial graphite anode.

Carbon foams were synthesized using direct pyrolysis and had SSA up to 2340 m2/g. When used as supercapacitor electrode materials, a specific capacitance up to 280 F/g was achieved at current density of 0.1 A/g and remained as high as 207 F/g, even at a high current density of 10 A/g.

A printed walking robot was made from common plastic films and coatings of SWNTs. The solid-state thermal bimorph actuators were multifunctional energy transducers powered by heat, light, or electricity. The actuators were also investigated for photo/thermal detection. Electrochemical actuators based on MnO2 were also studied for potential underwater applications.

SWNTs were also used to fabricate printable electrodes for trace Cr(VI) detection, which displayed sensitivity up to 500 nA/ppb for Cr(VI). The limit of detection was shown to be as low as 5 ppb. A flow detection system based on CNT/printed electrodes was also demonstrated.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Impacts of Carbon Nanoparticles on Nutrient Uptake, Leaching, and Yield of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

Description

Nitrate contamination to groundwater and surface water is a serious problem in areas with high agricultural production due to over application of fertilizers. There is a need for alternative technologies

Nitrate contamination to groundwater and surface water is a serious problem in areas with high agricultural production due to over application of fertilizers. There is a need for alternative technologies to reduce nutrient runoff without compromising yield. Carbon nanoparticles have adsorptive properties and have shown to improve germination and yield of a variety of crops. Graphite nanoparticles (CNP) were studied under a variety of different fertilizer conditions to grow lettuce for the three seasons of summer, fall, and winter. The aim of this thesis was to quantify the effect of CNPs on nitrate leaching and lettuce growth. This was accomplished by measuring the lettuce leaf yield, formulating a nutrient balance using the leachate, plant tissue, and soil data, and changing the hydraulic conductivity of the soil to assess the effect on nutrient mobility. summer and fall experiments used Arizona soil with different amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) fertilizer being applied to the soil with and without CNPs. The winter experiments used three different soil blends of Arizona soil, Arizona soil blended with 30% sand, and Arizona soil blended with 70% sand with a constant fertilizer treatment of 30% NPK with and without CNPs. The results showed that the 70% NPK with CNP treatment was best at reducing the amount of nitrate leached while having little to no compromise in yield. The winter experiments showed that the effectiveness of CNPs in reducing nitrate leaching and enhancing yield, improved with the higher the hydraulic conductivity of the soil.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Soot black carbon dynamics in arid/urban ecosystem

Description

Black carbon (BC) is the product of incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuels. It is found ubiquitously in nature and is relevant to studies in atmospheric science, soil science,

Black carbon (BC) is the product of incomplete combustion of biomass and fossil fuels. It is found ubiquitously in nature and is relevant to studies in atmospheric science, soil science, oceanography, and anthropology. Black carbon is best described using a combustion continuum that sub-classifies BC into slightly charred biomass, char, charcoal and soot. These sub-classifications range in particle size, formation temperature, and relative reactivity. Interest in BC has increased because of its role in the long-term storage of organic matter and the biogeochemistry of urban areas. The global BC budget is unbalanced. Production of BC greatly outweighs decomposition of BC. This suggests that there are unknown or underestimated BC removal processes, and it is likely that some of these processes are occurring in soils. However, little is known about BC reactivity in soil and especially in desert soil. This work focuses on soot BC, which is formed at higher temperatures and has a lower relative reactivity than other forms of BC. Here, I assess the contribution of soot BC to central AZ soils and use the isotopic composition of soot BC to identify sources of soot BC. Soot BC is a significant (31%) fraction of the soil organic matter in central AZ and this work suggests that desert and urban soils may be a storage reservoir for soot BC. I further identify previously unknown removal processes of soot BC found naturally in soil and demonstrate that soil soot BC undergoes abiotic (photo-oxidation) and biotic reactions. Not only is soot BC degraded by these processes, but its chemical composition is altered, suggesting that soot BC contains some chemical moieties that are more reactive than others. Because soot BC demonstrates both refractory and reactive character, it is likely that the structure of soot BC; therefore, its interactions in the environment are complex and it is not simply a recalcitrant material.

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Date Created
  • 2013