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Cost-Effective Algae Biomass Production for Oil Integreated with With Wastewater Treatment and Valued By-Product
Phone: (802) 310-1936
Phone: (802) 310-1936
"This proposal addresses challenges in algae biomass production for cost-competitive biofuel production. A critical hurdle in terms of large scale biomass production and a big economic barrier in the production of algae oil is the cost-efficiency involved in producing algae biomass. The principal objective of this project is to demonstrate that a low cost algal biomass production for oil is possible by integrating the system with wastewater treatment such as dairy farm manure, brewery wastewater, and producing valued by-products such as feedstock for biogas. The nutrient rich wastewater from biodigesters or farm runoff is mostly organic material that algae can digest and utilize the nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus), which otherwise is a threat to natural water bodies. However, to grow oil rich algae in such a media could be a challenge and no robust system exists. Unlike expensive algal closed systems (photobioreactors) under research, our system will be based on establishing a symbiotic relation between oil-rich algae and bacterial system in open ponds. We will test natural algal assemblage, oil-rich algal stain(s), and well know strain of Chlorella vulgaris in dairy farm and brewery wastewaters. The harvest will be tested for oil/lipids content, and the water quality parameters including nutrient concentrations of Nitrogen and Phosphorus will be analyzed and the Agricultural Lab at UVM. The algae cake left after il extraction will be assessed for its possible use as a commercial organic fertilizer. In United States diesel fuel demand is growing annually. By initiating a process for commercially viable algal production, this Phase I offers broad and significant impact on quality of life and environment by moving the energy, the wastewater treatment and rural sectors forward. Publications, presentation and interdisciplinary collaborations are anticipated.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *