Matching Items (37)

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Evaluating the feasibility of molasses as an electron donor for enhanced bioremediation of chlorinated solvents

Description

Lactate and methanol have been the most commonly used electron donors in the Krajmalnik-Brown laboratory for efficient microbial dechlorination of trichloroethene (TCE). Our goal was to assess the technical and

Lactate and methanol have been the most commonly used electron donors in the Krajmalnik-Brown laboratory for efficient microbial dechlorination of trichloroethene (TCE). Our goal was to assess the technical and economic feasibility of molasses and ethanol, two alternative electron donors by evaluating their costs and ability support complete TCE dechlorination to ethene. First, ethanol and molasses, with and without methanol, were evaluated for their abilities to support complete dechlorination in batch serum bottles. Molasses, the cheapest alternative, supported a similar dechlorination performance to lactate in batch experiments, so we then used it in an upflow anaerobic bioreactor (UABR) to test its ability to support rapid dechlorination in this continuous system. Molasses supported 88% TCE conversion to ethene at a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 13 hours after 80 days of operation in continuous mode. Compared to the UABR operated previously using lactate and methanol, molasses led to a reduction of TCE conversion to ethene, and a possible increase in time required to produce culture. Additionally, when molasses was used as the electron donor, we encountered new difficulties in the operation of the UABR, such as drastic pH changes. Therefore, I conclude that the savings from using molasses is outweighed by the costs associated with the reduction in dechlorination performance and increase in reactor maintenance. I recommend that lactate and methanol continue to be used as the electron donors in the Krajmalnik- Brown dechlorination lab to support fast-rate and cost-effective production of dechlorinating culture in an UABR. Because molasses supported fast rates of dechlorination in the batch experiment, however, it is potentially a better option than lactate and methanol for batch production of culture or for biostimulation, where the aquifer resembles a batch system. I recommend that further studies be done to reach a general conclusion about the feasibility of molasses as an electron donor for other enhanced bioremediation projects.

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  • 2014-12

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Increasing Energy Recovery in Microbial Electrochemical Cells (MXCs) by Studying the Effect of Ammonium on the Anaerobic Digestion of Fermentable Substrates.

Description

The effect of ammonium on microbial fermentation was investigated to improve the efficiency of microbial electrochemical cells (MXC). Electron balances of anaerobic microbial cultures with varying ammonium concentrations (reported as

The effect of ammonium on microbial fermentation was investigated to improve the efficiency of microbial electrochemical cells (MXC). Electron balances of anaerobic microbial cultures with varying ammonium concentrations (reported as g N-NH4+/L) were used to study the distribution of electrons from different fermentable substrates to acetate, propionate, and methane. Results showed that with a high ammonium concentration (between 2.25 to 3g N-NH4+/L) fewer electrons routed to methane during the fermentation of 300 me-eq./L of electron donors .The majority of electrons (~ 60-80%) in the serum bottles experiments were routed to acetate and propionate for all fermentable substrates with high ammonium concentration. While methane cannot be utilized by anode respiring bacteria (ARBs) to produce current, both acetate and propionate can, which could lead to higher Coulombic efficiencies in MXCs. Experiments in microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) with glucose, lactate, and ethanol were performed. MEC experiments showed low percentage of electrons to current (between 10-30 %), potentially due to low anode surface area (~ 3cm2) used during these experiments. Nevertheless, the fermentation process observed in the MECs was similar to serum bottles results which showed significant diversion of electrons to acetate and propionate (~ 80%) for a control concentration of 0.5 g N-NH4+/L .

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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BIOREMEDIATION OF TRICHLOROETHENE AND HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM: A SITE-SPECIFIC CASE STUDY

Description

Trichloroethene (TCE) and hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] are toxic and carcinogenic contaminants found in drinking water resources across the United States. A series of Bench-scale treatability studies were conducted to evaluate

Trichloroethene (TCE) and hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] are toxic and carcinogenic contaminants found in drinking water resources across the United States. A series of Bench-scale treatability studies were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of a consortium of facultative and strictly anaerobic bacteria, KB-1®, to remove TCE and Cr(VI) from a contaminated aquifer in San Diego. These series of treatability studies were also performed to prepare data and mature packed sediment columns for the deployment of the In Situ Microcosm Array (ISMA), a diagnostic device for determining optimal treatments for a contaminated aquifer, at this particular site. First, a control panel for the ISMA’s Injection Module (IM) was created in order to deliver nutrients to the columns. Then, a column treatability study was performed in order to produce columns with an established KB-1® consortium, so that all TCE in the column influent was converted to ethene by the time it had exited the column. Finally, a batch bottle treatability study was performed to determine KB-1®’s effectiveness at remediating both TCE and Cr(VI) from the San Diego ground-water samples. The results from the column study found that KB-1® was able to reduce TCE in mineral media. However, in the presence of site ground-water for the batch bottle study, KB-1® was only able to reduce Cr(VI) and no TCE dechlorination was observed. This result suggests that the dechlorinating culture cannot survive prolonged exposure to Cr(VI). Therefore, future work may involve repeating the batch bottle study with Cr(VI) removed from the groundwater prior to inoculation to determine if KB-1® is then able to dechlorinate TCE.

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  • 2013-05

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Direct Flame Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for Use in Remote Powering Applications

Description

In this Honors thesis, direct flame solid oxide fuel cells (DFFC) were considered for their feasibility in providing a means of power generation for remote powering needs. Also considered for

In this Honors thesis, direct flame solid oxide fuel cells (DFFC) were considered for their feasibility in providing a means of power generation for remote powering needs. Also considered for combined heat and fuel cell power cogeneration are thermoelectric cells (TEC). Among the major factors tested in this project for all cells were life time, thermal cycle/time based performance, and failure modes for cells. Two types of DFFC, anode and electrolyte supported, were used with two different fuel feed streams of propane/isobutene and ethanol. Several test configurations consisting of single cells, as well as stacked systems were tested to show how cell performed and degraded over time. All tests were run using a Biologic VMP3 potentiostat connected to a cell placed within the flame of a modified burner MSR® Wisperlite Universal stove. The maximum current and power output seen by any electrolyte supported DFFCs tested was 47.7 mA/cm2 and 9.6 mW/cm2 respectively, while that generated by anode supported DFFCs was 53.7 mA/cm2 and 9.25 mW/cm2 respectively with both cells operating under propane/isobutene fuel feed streams. All TECs tested dramatically outperformed both constructions of DFFC with a maximum current and power output of 309 mA/cm2 and 80 mW/cm2 respectively. It was also found that electrolyte supported DFFCs appeared to be less susceptible to degradation of the cell microstructure over time but more prone to cracking, while anode supported DFFCs were dramatically less susceptible to cracking but exhibited substantial microstructure degradation and shorter usable lifecycles. TECs tested were found to only be susceptible to overheating, and thus were suggested for use with electrolyte supported DFFCs in remote powering applications.

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  • 2014-05

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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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  • 2015-05

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Synthesis and Properties of Asymmetric Polystyrene/PNIPAM-Gold Composite Particles

Description

Asymmetric polystyrene-gold composite particles are successfully synthesized alongside core-shell composite particles via a one-step Pickering emulsion polymerization method. Unlike core-shell particles which form in the droplet phase of a stabilized

Asymmetric polystyrene-gold composite particles are successfully synthesized alongside core-shell composite particles via a one-step Pickering emulsion polymerization method. Unlike core-shell particles which form in the droplet phase of a stabilized Pickering emulsion, asymmetric particles form via a seeded growth mechanism. These composite particles act as catalysts with higher recyclability than pure gold nanoparticles due to reduced agglomeration. With the addition of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAM) monomers, temperature-responsive asymmetric and core-shell polystyrene/poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-gold composite particles are also synthesized via Pickering emulsion polymerization. The asymmetric particles have a greater thermo-responsiveness than the core-shell particles due to the increased presence of NIPAAM monomers in the seeded-growth formation. Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM)-containing asymmetric particles have tunable rheological and optical properties due to their significant size decrease above the lower critical solution temperature (LCST).

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  • 2014-05

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Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) Tests and Microbial Electrochemical Cells (MECs) Identify Differences in Pretreated Waste Activates Sludge (WAS) Streams

Description

Anaerobic digestion (AD), a common process in wastewater treatment plants, is traditionally assessed with Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) tests. Hydrolysis is considered its rate-limiting step. During my research, I assessed

Anaerobic digestion (AD), a common process in wastewater treatment plants, is traditionally assessed with Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) tests. Hydrolysis is considered its rate-limiting step. During my research, I assessed the impact of pretreatment on BMPs and microbial electrochemical cells (MECs). In the first set of experiments, BMP tests were performed using alkaline and thermal pretreated waste activated sludge (WAS), a control group, and a negative control group as samples and AD sludge (ADS) as inoculum. The data obtained suggested that BMPs do not necessarily require ADS, since samples without inoculum produced 5-20% more CH4. However, ADS appears to reduce the initial methanogenesis lag in BMPs, as no pH inhibition and immediate CH4 production were observed. Consumption rate constants, which are related to hydrolysis, were calculated using three methods based on CH4 production, SSCOD concentration, and the sum of both, called the lumped parameter. All the values observed were within literature values, yet each provide a different picture of what is happening in the system. For the second set of experiments, the current production of 3 H-type MECs were compared to the CH4 production of BMPs to assess WAS solids' biodegradability and consumption rates relative to the pretreatment methods employed for their substrate. BMPs fed with pretreated and control WAS solids were performed at 0.42 and 1.42 WAS-to-ADS ratios. An initial CH4 production lag of about 12 days was observed in the BMP assays, but MECs immediately began producing current. When compared in terms of COD, MECs produced more current than the BMPs produced CH4, indicating that the MEC may be capable of consuming different types of substrate and potentially overestimating CH4 production in anaerobic digesters. I also observed 2 to 3 different consumption events in MECs versus 3 for BMP assays, but these had similar magnitudes, durations, and starting times in the control and thermal pretreated WAS-fed assays and not in alkaline assays. This might indicate that MECs identified the differences of alkaline pretreatment, but not between control WAS and thermal pretreated WAS. Furthermore, HPLC results suggest at least one hydrolysis event, as valerate, butyrate, and traces of acetate are observed in the reactors' effluents. Moreover, a possible inhibition of valerate-fixing microbial communities due to pretreatment and the impossibility of valerate consumption by ARB might explain its presence in the reactors' effluents.

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  • 2017-05

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The Effect of pH, Acetate, and Buffer Concentration on Anode Biofilms of Geobacter sulfurreducens PCA Using Advanced Electrochemical Methods

Description

The mechanisms of extracellular respiration in Geobacter sulfurreducens, commonly considered to be a model organism for anode respiration, are yet to be completely understood. The interplay between electron and proton

The mechanisms of extracellular respiration in Geobacter sulfurreducens, commonly considered to be a model organism for anode respiration, are yet to be completely understood. The interplay between electron and proton transport especially could be a key to gaining further insights. One way to investigate the mechanisms of extracellular respiration under varying environmental conditions is by analyzing the electrochemical response of the biofilm with respect to pH, buffer concentrations, and acetate concentrations. I seek to increase the understanding of the electrochemical response of the G. sulfurreducens biofilm through electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic voltammetry (CV) techniques in concert with chronoamperometry. I used Geobacter sulfurreducens PCA biofilms in single-chamber electrochemical cells (approximately 100 mL volume) with a small gold working electrode (3.14 mm2). I observed limitations in the initial methods used for media replacement. I tracked changes in the CV data, such as EKA (midpoint potential), as a function of pH and buffer concentration. The media replacement method developed demonstrates success in pH experiments that will be transferrable to other environmental conditions to study electron transport. The experiments revealed that the clarity of data collected is dependent on the quality of the biofilm. A high quality biofilm is characterized by a high current density and normal growth behavior. The general trends seen in these experiments are that as pH increases the potential decreases, and as buffer concentration increases the potential decreases and pH increases. Acetate-free conditions in the reactor were unable to be achieved as characterized by non-zero current densities in the acetate-free experiments.

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  • 2016-05

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Augmenting Protocols for In-situ Separation of Biocompounds.

Description

In our modern world the source of for many chemicals is to acquire and refine oil. This process is becoming an expensive to the environment and to human health. Alternative

In our modern world the source of for many chemicals is to acquire and refine oil. This process is becoming an expensive to the environment and to human health. Alternative processes for acquiring the final product have been developed but still need work. One product that is valuable is butanol. The normal process for butanol production is very intensive but there is a method to produce butanol from bacteria. This process is better because it is more environmentally safe than using oil. One problem however is that when the bacteria produce too much butanol it reaches the toxicity limit and stops the production of butanol. In order to keep butanol from reaching the toxicity limit an adsorbent is used to remove the butanol without harming the bacteria. The adsorbent is a mesoporous carbon powder that allows the butanol to be adsorbed on it. This thesis explores different designs for a magnetic separation process to extract the carbon powder from the culture.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Characterizing Buffers to Maximize Peroxide Production in the Cathode Chamber of Microbial Fuel Cells

Description

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) facilitate the conversion of organic matter to electrical current to make the total energy in black water treatment neutral or positive and produce hydrogen peroxide to

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) facilitate the conversion of organic matter to electrical current to make the total energy in black water treatment neutral or positive and produce hydrogen peroxide to assist the reuse of gray water. This research focuses on wastewater treatment at the U.S. military forward operating bases (FOBs). FOBs experience significant challenges with their wastewater treatment due to their isolation and dangers in transporting waste water and fresh water to and from the bases. Even though it is theoretically favorable to produce power in a MFC while treating black water, producing H2O2 is more useful and practical because it is a powerful cleaning agent that can reduce odor, disinfect, and aid in the treatment of gray water. Various acid forms of buffers were tested in the anode and cathode chamber to determine if the pH would lower in the cathode chamber while maintaining H2O2 efficiency, as well as to determine ion diffusion from the anode to the cathode via the membrane. For the catholyte experiments, phosphate and bicarbonate were tested as buffers while sodium chloride was the control. These experiments determined that the two buffers did not lower the pH. It was seen that the phosphate buffer reduced the H2O2 efficiency significantly while still staying at a high pH, while the bicarbonate buffer had the same efficiency as the NaCl control. For the anolyte experiments, it was shown that there was no diffusion of the buffers or MFC media across the membrane that would cause a decrease in the H2O2 production efficiency.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05