Engineering Partnership Thrives Between ODU and Italy’s University of Padova
June 12, 209
A prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for Old Dominion University biofuels researcher Sandeep Kumar has helped power a five-year partnership with one of Italy's top research universities, Univ ersity of Padova. Dr. Kumar with the NSF grant has pursued many research collaboration with the European Research Council grants. As a result, we have had several peer - reviewed publications, conference presentations and mutual exchange visits of student and faculty members. This has given rise to a fruitful relation between ODU and University of Padova.
Biofuels Research Apprenticeship Program (B-RAP) Summer 2019 suspended
May 30, 2019
Biofuels Research Apprenticeship Program (B-RAP) Summer 2019 is suspended for this academic year.
Biofuels Research Apprenticeship Program (B-RAP) Summer 2018 now accepting applications
May 10, 2018
The Biofuels Apprenticeship program for motivated High School students is accepting applicationsuntil Friday June 08, 2018. This program brings up to six (6) highly motivated high school students to the Biofuels Lab for the month of July to gain an introduction to this exciting field in renewable energy. Students will do hands-on work in the lab, get small group instruction on lab techniques and an overview of the field of biofuels, and see demonstrations of cutting-edge research being done by the Biofuels Lab group. Click HERE to download the Application form.
REU's participate in the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium
03 February, 2018
BRL students from the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program participated in the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium on February 3, 2018 at the Learning Commons of the ODU’s Perry Library. Matea Tindal from the Civil and Environmental Engineering department presented two posters on microalgae cultivation in aquaculture wastewater and optimizing cultivation media for microalgae at BRL. Joshua Bush from the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department presented a poster on catalytic oxidation of lignin from lignocellulosic biomass. Joshua was co-advised by BRL director, Dr. Sandeep Kumar and Dr. Alvin Holder of the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
NASA Langley scientist touts biochar: an 'environmental superstar'
09 January, 2018
Check out this story on biochar which references Dr. Kumar's project as part of EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) national student design competition to develop ideas for a sustainable future. ODU is now one of more than 40 universities across the country vying for a P3 phase II grant of up to $75,000 to implement their idea in a real-world setting. The article can be found here.
ODU Presents at 2017 Algae Biomass Summit
31 October, 2017
The Biomass Research Laboratory at Old Dominion University presented their research at the 2017 Algae Biomass Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah from October 31, 2017 to November 02, 2017.
Elana Barbera presented the work entitled "Understanding the Nutrients Precipitation Chemistry from Algae Hydrolysate and Applications of Precipitated Minerals" by authors Elena Barbera, Ali Teymouri, Alberto Bertucco, Ben Stuart, Sandeep Kumar.
Andrew Bessette presented the work entitled "Evaluation of Flash Hydrolysis in Algae Processing: A Combined Life Cycle and Techno-Economic Approach" by authors Eleazer Resurreccion, Andrew Bessette, Mason Martin, Ali Teymouri, Ben Stuart, and Sandeep Kumar.
Ali Teymouri won 1st prize in the poster presentation with the work entitled "Evaluation of Lipid Extractability After Flash Hydrolysis of Algae" by authors Ali Teymouri, Kameron Adams, Tao Dong, Ben Stuart, Sandeep Kumar.
Anil Mehrotra graduates ODU in Doctor of Engineering, Environmental Engineering program
ODU student and BRL member Anil Mehrotra graduated from the Doctor of Engineering program in Environmental Engineering this past semester. He completed his degree while working full time as a Plant Engineer at the Waste-to-Energy facility Hampton/NASA Steam Plant, Hampton. His project was entitled: "INERTIZATION, UTILIZATION, AND SAFE DISPOSAL OF INCINERATION RESIDUES" and here is a short description of his work: "Developed two new cost-effective solutions for stabilizing heavy metals in MSW residues to cover the gap between the leachability concentrations of toxic elements observed in residues and the leachability toxicity limits as per EPA's regulatory threshold. These methods include treating MSW residue fly ash (FA) with 2% dolomitic lime by weight, or by injecting aqueous (39% concentration) sodium sulfide at a controlled rate. The extensive full scale experimental study was carried out at 240 t/day capacity Hampton/NASA waste-to-energy mass burn MSW Incinerator (MSWI). The treatment process by use of 2% dolomite w/w resulted in annual saving of $ 380,000 (in 2008), while the current treatment process has resulted in savings to the extent of $150,000 per year by treating the plant's combustion residues with aqueous sodium sulfide replacing the use of dolomitic lime for ash treatment. " Congradulations Anil!
2017 REU's Complete Summer Research
04 September, 2017
The 2017 REU group recently completed their summer research. Here is a synopsis of the three students' research:
Ashanti Sallee - Hampton University, Hampton, VA
At the Biomass Research Lab, Ashanti’s project was to analyze the efficiency of furfural hydrogenation using Electrochemical Hydrogenation with a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell reactor. She conducted the experiment thrice and used detailed graphs to identify the amount of current generated by the process and to track the efficiency of the experiment. When the efficiency decreased with each trial, Ashanti examined how the relationship between furfural and the membrane causes contamination, which is responsible for the decrease in efficiency.
Zachary Andrew - Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA
As a part of the Biomass Research Lab, Zachary was creating both detailed computational models and general equation models in order to create a comprehensive model of the laboratory setup of the flash hydrolysis system. The flash hydrolysis system is the system used at BRL to pretreat micro-algae for use in the creation of biofuels. With the computational models, Zachary analyzed the current system and designed a scaled-up pilot unit of the flash hydrolysis system. To create these computational models, he used basic computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer.
Tarun Goswami - University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Tarun’s project at the Biomass Research Lab was focused on reducing the ash content of microalgae. Ash reduction can be a crucial benefactor to the feasibility of biofuels, as it reduces the efficiency of biofuel production methods. He developed and tested three experiments based on lignocellulosic ash reduction methods, and decided that leaching would be the most promising method to reduce ash content. After testing various conditions, he presented his findings at the symposium at ODU. Additionally, he submitted a paper with the entire research and further considerations to the National Science Foundation.
BRAP-2017 Completes Summer Session
04 September, 2017
The ODU Biomass Research Laboratory welcomes high school level students every summer to participate in the Biofuels-Research Apprenticeship Program (B-RAP). This year, Ravali Renukunta, Milind Magoon, Rohan Rathi, Michael Jacobs, Abhiram Chekuri, Saighuhan Senthilkumar, all from schools in Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach participated in this month long program. Starting off with an introduction to lab safety, these high school interns gained valuable experience ranging from using pipettes and learning proper analytical techniques to culturing algae and making biodiesel. B-RAP interns also developed research skills such as collecting data, analysis, and presentation as well as comparing and evaluating various renewable and non-renewable energy sources. BRL PhD students, Ali Teymouri, Kameron Adams, Ashani Samaratunga, Chen Li, Maria Mauer, and Oumar Sacko from the ODU chemistry department instructed and mentored the high school students under the guidance of Dr. Sandeep Kumar, Director of Energy Cluster and Dr. Ben Stuart, then Department Chair.
ODU Undergrads present at Virginia's Collegiate Honors Conference
07 April, 2017
Virginia's Collegiate Honors Conference was held at the Norfolk Zoo this April and four of the Biomass Research Laboratory undergraduate researchers presented their work. Kimberly Bethea, Laurence Egalla, Aaron Lyons, and Blake Steiner were in attendance and Blake Steiner was awarded the best oral presentation! PhD Student Caleb Talbot also attended the conference. The theme of the conference was "Adventures in Honors" and speeches from the winners of the Emerging Honors Scholar of the Year Award and the Honors Scholar of the Year Award recipient were given which provided inspiration throughout. Dr. David Metzger, Dean of the ODU Honors College, was elected as the upcoming vice president for the Virginia's Collegiate Honors Conference.
Biomass Research Laboratory Presents at ODU's G.R.A.D.
23 March, 2017
Eight students from the Biomass Research Laboratory presented at ODU's annual Graduate Research Achievement Day. They were able to share their work with students and faculty from around the University. The members in attendance were (from left to right) Ali Teymouri, Dr. Sandeep Kumar (Director) Caleb Talbot, Anil Mehrotra, Andrew Bessette, Kameron Adams, Alex Asiedu, Ashani Samaratunga, and Chen Li.
Blake Steiner Presents at Old Dominion University's 2017 Undergraduate Symposium
18 February, 2017
Blake Steiner presented his research at the 2017 Old Dominion University Undergraduate Symposium this February. His presentation was entitled Use of Unionized Ammonia to Control Zooplankton Grazers in Cultures ofScenedesmus. The experiment was conducted to limit Scendesemus sp. grazers, as they continue to reduce biofuel yields. 2.5L cultures with zooplankton were inoculated in photobioreactors with 640 mg/L urea. 500mg/L spike of NH4Cl was used on day zero to test the use of free ammonia to control grazers. Cell counts were performed with hemocytometer and Gridded chromotography. Urea may impact zooplankton by day 8 out of 14, with a 24-48 hour lag time after accumulating free ammonia. This was confirmed by the NH4Cl splike.
BRL Presents at 2016 Algae Biomass Summit
24 October, 2016
ODU presented research from the Biomass Research Laboratory at the 2016 Algae Biomas Summit in Phoenix, Arizona from 24-26 October, 2016. Dr. Sandeep Kumar presented a panel talk on his research entitled Microalgal Cultivation Using Minerals Precipitated Through Hydrothermal Mineralizations. The research was conducted in conjunction with BRL members Ali Temouri and Dr. Ben Stuart from Old Dominion University and Elena Barbera and Dr. Alberto Bertucco from University of Padova, Italy. Andrew Bessette also presented his research entitled Life Cycle Assessment of an Integrated Approach towards Algae Cultivation for a Sustainable Biofuels Intermediate Production and Storage via poster presentation.
ODU Awarded NSF Grant for the Design, Development, and Demonstration of a Pilot-Scale Mobile Flash Hydrolyzer
20 September, 2016
The project will result in a novel mobile algae slurry processing Flash Hydrolysis unit which will be used for following demonstration purposes:
(i) Onsite algae processing at commercial algae cultivation facilities
(ii) Recovery of bioproducts and nutrients at algae bloom sites
(iii) Processing algae from the tertiary treatment of wastewater effluents and
(iv) Integration into a municipal solid waste processing facility
The project team consists of graduate students and interdisciplinary undergraduate students who will gain experience in projectbased learning and process design, as well as an opportunity to interact with numerous takeholders. This project platform will help engage student participants in talking to potential customers, partners and competitors, and entrepreneurial opportunities that follow successful academic research. A summer biofuel research apprenticeship program and visits of local high school students to the project site will be used as a tool to engage K12 students.
Old Dominion University was awarded a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. This project focuses on developing a pilotscale mobile Flash Hydrolyzer (FH) unit to rapidly and economically harvest products made from microalgae. The project duration is from October 2016 to March 2018.
Biofuels Research Apprenticeship Program 2016 Concludes
05 August, 2016
The ODU Biomass Research Laboratory welcomes five high school level students every summer to participate in the Biofuels-Research Apprenticeship Program (B-RAP). This year, Ellery Jacobs from Norfolk, Tharidu Gunawardena, Jonathan Montes, and Sai Singamsetty from Virginia Beach, and Sid Kanderi from Chesapeake participated in this month long program. Starting off with an introduction to lab safety, these high school interns gained valuable experience ranging from using pipettes and learning proper analytical techniques to culturing algae and making biodiesel. B-RAP interns also developed research skills such as collecting data, analysis, and presentation as well as comparing and evaluating various renewable and non-renewable energy sources. BRL PhD students, Ali Teymouri, Kameron Adams, Ashani Samaratunga, Chen Li, and Caleb Talbot instructed and mentored the high school students under the guidance of Dr. Sandeep Kumar, Director of Energy Cluster and Dr. Ben Stuart, Department Chair.
Dr. Sandeep Kumar Conducts Biofuels Workshop in India
11 July, 2016
Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University, Hyderabad hosted a five-day course on Biofuels Engineering under Ministry of Human Resources Development Government of India’s ‘Global Initiative on Academic Network (GIAN)’ from July 11 to 15, 2016. Dr. Sandeep Kumar from ODU conducted the workshop and it was attended by 45 PhD students, research fellows, lecturers, and early career faculty from Eng. & Sciences across the country. Ministry of Human Resources Development Government of India’s ‘Global Initiative on Academic Network (GIAN)' has been initiated with the motive to inspire the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs, internationally to increase their engagement with the institutes of Higher Education.
The workshop provided a common platform for the participants to strengthen their background in the areas of biofuels production and processing from the waste materials for the future generation fuels engineering and applied science.
Attendees included graduate students, teachers, and researchers working in environmental science and technology, automotive, chemical, civil, mechanical engineering, biotechnology and fuel engineering fields.
Old Dominion Biofuels Research Powered by New Teaching Grant
20 June, 2016
A new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant has been won by biofuels researchers at Old Dominion University. The NSF-Research Experiences for Undergraduates site at Old Dominion University will allow 10 young scholars to do hands-on research at the university in biofuels applications for 10 weeks during each of three summers, starting in 2017.
The undergraduates (from Old Dominion and other area universities and across the nation) will learn about applying electrochemical technologies in the production of clean fuels. Kumar's laboratory is studying the applicability of this method of extracting from algae the material needed to produce biofuels.
In addition to studying and using the technology to process algae to biofuels and their byproducts, the students will study hydrogen production, fuel cell applications and the development of future biorefineries. The students will also study other clean fuel production applications, including solar fuel production, biofuels upgrading and production and fuel cell materials and applications. For more information click here.
Blair Middle School Visits ODU Biomass Research Laboratory
06 May, 2016
Approximately 50 Students from Blair Middle School visited the ODU Biomass Research Laboratory on May 6th as part of a STEM outreach initiative. The students toured the laboratories, were provided a demonstration on how to make room temperature biodiesel, viewed algae under a microscope, were provided an introduction to life cycle analysis, and conducted an energy debate based on renewable fuels. Thank you for your amazing participation Blair Middle School!
PhD Student Caleb Talbot presents at IBE Conference
07-09 April, 2016
PhD student Caleb Talbot presented his research at the 2016 Institute of Biological Engineering Conference in Greenville, SC from 07-09 April, 2016. His poster was entitled Sustainable Nutrient Sources for Algal Biofuel Production. The co-authors were Dr. Ben Stuart and Dr. Sandeep Kumar.
ODU Presents at 2016 ASNE Day
02-03 March, 2016
ODU faculty member Dr. Sandeep Kumar and PhD student Andrew Bessette presented the Biomass Research Laboratory's work at the 2016 American Society of Naval Engineer's Day on 02-03 March, 2016 in Washington D.C. PhD student Andrew Bessette also displayed his work in the student poster competition. His poster was entitled Algae Based Biofuels Life Cycle Assessment for the Great Green Fleet.
PhD Student Caleb Talbot Wins Best Presentation at AICHE Annual Meeting
February 14, 2016
PhD student Caleb Talbot was awarded the best presentation in his section for his work entitled Comparing Nutrient Recovery via Rapid and Conventional Hydrothermal Liquefaction Processes for Microalgae Cultivation at the2015 AIChE Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT from November 8-13. The nominator was Sridhar Viamajala of Univ of Toledo.
PhD Student Chen Li Published in Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery Journal
January 22, 2016
In January 2016, ODU PhD student Chen Li was published in the journal Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery. In his article entitled Preparation of activated carbon from un-hydrolyzed biomass residue, Chen Li evaluates five different parameters (pretreatment methods, impregnation ratio, activation time, activation temperature, and temperature increasing rate) using the factorial method to determine the effect on BET surface area and pore volume on activated carbon. Un-hydrolyzed biomass residue generated from enzymatic hydrolysis of corn stover was used for activated carbon production. The article was co-authored by Dr. Sandeep Kumar. The article and results of the study can be found at:
ODU Awarded Grant from Sandia National Laboratories
January 11, 2016
The ODU Biomass Research Laboratory was recently awarded a $25k contract for a performance period of 1 year to assist in the research of producing advanced biofuels at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). SNL selected Dr. Kumar's subcritical water based Flash Hydrolysis (FH) process for fractionating the algae components (lipids and proteins). The recent grant's objective is to use marine algae and polyculture biomass feedstock for FH process. SNL has researchers currently working on hybrid processing strategies for algae-based fuels. Specifically they have been investigating integrated bio- and thermochemical processing of raceway and wastewater cultivated algae to maximize carbon yields to fuels and intermediate value products. The work at Old Dominion University focuses on FH of algae feedstocks which can eliminate the need for acid and enzymatic biomass pretreatments – the dominant processing cost drivers.
BRL Presents at 2015 AIChE Annual Meeting
November 13, 2015
The ODU Biomass Research Laboratory presented 3 topics at the 2015 AIChE Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT from November 8-13, 2015. Dr. Sandeep Kumar and Ph.D. Student Ali Teymouri presented Nutrients (N & P) Recovery from Algae Hydrolysate By Hydrothermal Mineralization. They also presented recently graduated Dr. Sergiy Popov's work entitled Rapid Hydrothermal Hydrogenation and Decarboxylation of Oleic Acid ove Activated Carbon Using Formic Acid as in situ Source of Hydrogen. Dr. Sandeep Kumar and Ph.D. student Caleb Talbot presented their work Comparing Nutrient Recovery via Rapid and Conventional Hydrothermal Liquefaction Processes for Microalgae Cultivation. Recently graduated Dr Jose Garcia Moscoso was also a contributing author to this work.
ODU Presents at 2015 Algae Biomass Summit
September 30, 2015
The 9th annual Algae Biomass Summit, which is hosted and produced by the Algae Biomass Organization, was held in Washington, D.C. from September 30th to October 2nd this year. ODU had 1 presentation and 2 posters at this years conference. Dr. Sandeep Kumar presented Flash Hydrolysis of Nannochloropsis spp. for Nutrients Recycling and Biofuels Production. Patric Hatcher presented his poster Sustainable Production of an Energy-dense Biofuels Intermediate by a Novel Addition of Humic Stimulants, and Andrew Bessette presented his poster Life Cycle Analysis using Argonne GREET Model of Algae Based Biofuels Produced using Flash Hydrolysis Process.
For doctoral engineering students, it was a unique experience on the other side of the mentorship ledger. For five local high school students with aspirations of studying alternative fuels, it was a one-of-a-kind experience learning in an award-winning university laboratory... (Read More)
Advanced Engineering Certificate in Energy Systems graduates its first student
July 31, 2015
Anil Mehrotra completed ODU’s Advanced Engineering Certificate in Energy Systems this Spring, making him the first graduate of this recently introduced Certificate program. Dr. Sandeep Kumar, Director of ODU’s Energy Engineering Research Cluster presented him with his Certificate on July 31st, 2015.
Open to both currently enrolled degree-seeking students and professionals interested simply in expanding their knowledge in a specific area, the Energy Certificate program is a 12-credit hour graduate certificate aimed at providing understanding of energy engineering and the increasing role of energy engineers in addressing growing energy needs. The new skills and advanced understanding developed in class will prepare students for employment in rapidly growing energy industries. Course selection is flexible, allowing students to tailor their program around their specific areas of interest in the Energy Engineering field, ranging from Energy Systems and Management to detailed work in Energy Conversion, Photovoltaics, or Biofuels. Most students will be able to complete the program in 2 years or less.
Further information on the program is available through the Energy Cluster website.
Biofuels Apprenticeship Program Summer 2015 now accepting applications
May 4, 2015
The Biofuels Apprenticeship program for motivated High School students is accepting applications until May 18th. This program brings up to four (4) highly motivated high school students to the Biofuels Lab for the month of July to gain an introduction to this exciting field in renewable energy. Students will do hands-on work in the lab, get small group instruction on lab techniques and an overview of the field of biofuels, and see demonstrations of cutting-edge research being done by the Biofuels Lab group. Click HERE to download the Application form.
4 Biofuels Lab students present posters at ODU Graduate Research Achievement Day 2015
I.C. Norcom High School Students visit Biofuels Lab
January 22, 2015
15 students from IC Norcom High School in Portsmouth came to ODU to visit the Biofuels Lab for an hour and a half lab tour in January. Graduate student members of the Biofuels lab group hosted and demonstrated various aspects of their work. Hannah introduced them to the operation, showed the research posters and then set up the microscopes so the Norcom students could see algae grown in various recycle conditions; Sergiy demonstrated the setup of his experimental reactor and the oil produced, as well as the Gas Chromatograph. The high school students were interested and engaged and asked thoughtful questions about the research. Several asked about the Biofuels Apprenticeship program in the summer months where they may be able to return to pursue a more in depth experience of this area of the STEM fields.
Ali Teymouri has article published in Industrial Engineering and Chemistry Research
An honorable mention in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) sustainability competition has only increased the drive of the team of Old Dominion University student engineers who participated last weekend in Washington, D.C.
Sandeep Kumar, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering... (Read more)
A team of researchers from Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, United States, will soon pit their algae processing technology against engineers and scientists from across the U.S. in the P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) Competition sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency. (Watch video)
I’m a supporter of on-the-ground work in academia and how student research programs across the United States are helping to solve our country’s environmental problems, often with assistance from the federal government. That’s why I was delighted to visit with Dr. Sandeep Kumar and his team of graduate and undergraduate students at Old Dominion University Research Foundation in Norfolk, Virginia. My visit was timely... (Read more)
Sandeep Kumar, an Old Dominion University environmental engineer, recently received a five-year award from the National Science Foundation related to what some have called his groundbreaking research in algae biofuels. According to Kumar, he's developed a way to extract oil from algae that doesn't use chemicals or leave chemicals potentially harmful to the environment... (Read more)