Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about LiqofluxPhenometrics Buy 3 Get 1 Free
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Research

NMSU researchers mining energy from wastewater

July 29, 2018
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Catherine Brewer, assistant professor with New Mexico State University’s Chemical and Materials Engineering Department. Photo: Andres Leighton/NMSU

Tiffany Acosta writes for the (Las Cruces, NM) Sun-News that three years ago Catherine Brewer was asked to join a university collaboration on bioalgal energy. The assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at New Mexico State University, who specializes in biomass processing, accepted the new challenge. Dr. Brewer and her research group replaced Shuguang Deng on NMSU’s team of the National Science Foundation New Mexico EPSCoR project, Energize New Mexico: Bioalgal Energy.

The collaboration includes teams from the University of New Mexico and Eastern New Mexico University, as well as NMSU’s departments of Civil Engineering, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Fishery and Wildlife Sciences and Biology. “The biggest impact of this research is the ability to get energy out of wastewater treatment rather than only put energy in,” Dr. Brewer said.

One of the project goals is to create transportation fuels, ideally jet fuels, from materials such as algae. Dr. Brewer’s group is tasked with cooking algae via hydrothermal liquefaction through a high-temperature and high-pressure reactor at conditions near the critical point of water: 290-350 degrees Celsius (550-660 degrees Fahrenheit) and 100-200 atmospheres of pressure.

“My group’s job has been to take different algae strains grown under slightly different conditions and see how much bio-crude oil we can get out of the biomass,” she said. “We want to recover as much energy as we can. The tightness of specifications around jet fuels has made it more difficult to get renewable fuels into that space — it has to be just the right molecules with just the right properties.”

Since 2015 Dr. Brewer’s team has been working on different reactor configurations: 100 mL and 2L batch reactors, and the redesign of a pilot-scale continuous flow reactor. The continuous flow reactor was a goal of the EPSCoR project because it represents the next step of scaling up the process toward commercial applications.

Among the new features in the reactor redesign are special self-cleaning filters to remove solids while they are hot (and prevent heavy oils from condensing on the chars and clogging the reactor), and upgrades for system safety.

“The reason these reactor designs take so long is you want to make sure you do it right so when there are failures, it’s a matter of cleaning and not a matter of injuries or permanent damage,” she said.

In addition to a multiple-university collaboration, the project is a multiple-department effort for NMSU. Additional researchers on the project include Omar Holguin, Plant and Environmental Science associate professor and project lead at NMSU; Nirmala Khandan, Civil Engineering professor; Wiebke Boeing, Fishery and Wildlife Sciences professor; Wayne Van Voohries, Biology professor emeritus; and Umakanta Jena, Chemical and Materials assistant professor.

“With the combination of biologists, civil engineers, chemical engineers, chemists…” said Dr. Brewer, “we can cover the entire supply chain and make sure improving one area doesn’t hurt another area — that we improve the supply chain all the way around.”

Read More

More Like This…

Copyright ©2010-2020 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

twittertopbarlinks_eventstopbarlinks_requesttopbarlinks_archives

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
The 2020 Algae Biomass Summit is going virtual. In light of the continued uncertainty around the global COVID-19 outbreak the Algae Biomass Organization’s board of direct...
Paris-based Solabia Group (“Solabia”) has acquired Algatech Ltd., a global leader in the development, cultivation and commercialization of ingredients delivered from micr...
San Diego, CA and Kailua-Kona, HI-based Cellana, Inc. has signed an Asset Purchase Agreement with Cyanotech Corporation for the sale of Cellana’s six-acre production and ...
Sophie Kevany writes in Decanter.com that a group of vineyards in France’s Bordeaux and Cognac regions are exploring whether algae can be used to prevent the fungal infec...
Virginia Tech paleontologists have made a remarkable discovery in China: 1 billion-year-old micro-fossils of green seaweeds that could be related to the ancestor of the e...
The 2019 Algae Biomass Summit, the largest algae conference in the world, kicked off Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, with opening keynote presentations and plenary discussio...
Foodbev.com reports that French marine ingredients company Algaia will install a new specialty seaweed extract unit at its facility in Brittany, France, after securing €4...
Nestlé has entered into a partnership with Corbion to develop the next generation of microalgae-based ingredients, enabling the companies to deliver sustainable, tasty an...
The Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative, a technology-based economic development program funded by the state of Utah, has awarded a $175,320 grant for...
Nature.com reports that swimming algae have been enlisted to carry drugs to individual cells, raising the prospect that such “microswimmers” could deliver targeted therap...
Alice Klein reports that a skin patch made of living blue-green algae speeds up wound healing in mice and may help to treat chronic wounds in people with diabetes, accord...
Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and partner institutions have provided the first published report of algae using raw plants as a carbon energy source. The r...