Biomass Research Lab group members are involved in a wide variety of research projects including:
Removal of copper and cadmium from aqueous solution using switchgrass biochar produced via hydrothermal carbonization process
Flash hydrolysis of microalgae (Scenedesmus sp.) for protein extraction and production of biofuels intermediates
Kinetics of arginine and soluble peptides production from microalgae using flash hydrolysis
Flash hydrolysis of microalgae for on-site nutrients recovery and biofuels production (EPA P3)
Nutrient recovery and recycle of algal biomass after harvesting
Activated carbon production via pyrolysis of impregnated lignocellulosic biomass
Bio-oil via catalytic liquefaction of unhydrolyzed solids in aqueous medium
Hydrothermal treatment for enhancing oil extraction and hydrochar production from oilseeds
Hydrothermal catalytic hydrogenation and decarboxylation of fatty acids in continuous flow process
Hydrothermal processing of mixed feedstocks and anaerobic digestion
Low-cost Household Biochar Water Filter for Lead Removal (2017-2018)
The major challenge of using biochar as a cost competitive method is to assess what quantity of lead a given amount of biochar can adsorb before supersaturation in a continuous flow packed-bed system. Adsorption of a substance involves its accumulation at the interface between two phases. Breakthrough; the point at which all adsorption sites are occupied-adsorbate and adsorbent are in equilibrium, of a given amount of biochar data can be used to design a household water filter for drinking water free of lead contamination. This P3 award team proposes to design a biochar filter for removal of lead from tap water using the principle of adsorption based on the schematics shown in Figure 1.1 for real applications.
This project will follow the below goals:
Goal1: Theoretical investigation will be performed on the proposed filter.The research will focus on breakthrough point calculation, material selection, and efficiency evaluation
Goal 2: The research team will build a prototype of biochar filter to evaluate the practical lead removal potential of the proposed concept.
Goal 3: The research team will demonstrate the efficiency of the filter of eliminating lead fromsupplied household water
This filter is designed for ease of use for any person that may need it. To meet this goal the schematic (Figure 1.1) demonstrates how the product is envisioned: simple installation of filter, mounting onto the faucet, and replacement of the filter cartridge as needed. Under the counter filters can also be produced for those that are not in need of immediate use; a product designed for longevity rather than providing potable water in emergency situations. Materials will be inexpensive to ensure convenience for those in need and are available for shipment to areas of crisis. Plastics manufacturers can be utilized for mass production and use of char, as opposed to GAC, will also reduce cost. To guarantee operational design, additional testing and refinement is necessary to secure an appropriate factor of safety.
ODU 2017-2018 Team
Flash Hydrolysis of Microalgae for On-site Nutrients Recovery and Biofuels Production (2014-2015)
Some of the major challenges in accomplishing the objective of cost competitive biofuels production from microalgae include dewatering, high nitrogen/protein content, and diverse composition of microalgae. In view of challenges associated with utilizing this high water content biomass, principally the need for water and nitrogen removal, reactions in subcritical water (critical point: 374°C, 22.1 MPa) medium may be an attractive option for extracting valuable bioactive compounds and producing liquid hydrocarbons from microalgae. In
subcritical water based processes, water is kept in liquid phase and so the latent heat required for phase change of water from liquid to vapor (2.26 MJ/kg) is avoided. This allows reducing the energy requirement for the subcritical water-based process compared to that of steam-based processes. The entire proposed hypothesis is represented in following schematic.
Schematic Representation of the Flash Hydrolysis Process
The P3 award team proposes to build and operate a flash hydrolyzer. It is a plug flow type rector which operates between 150-320°C under subcritical water conditions and is capable of processing 100 gallons per hour of algal slurry with tunable residence time. The residence time is very short (2 to 30 s) which allows us to use a compact continuous plug flow reactor. Based on our preliminary experimental study, it was estimated about 70 wt% (dry basis) of nitrogen present in microalgae as proteins can be hydrolyzed as peptides and amino acids. During the process, about 30% of carbon present in microalgae is also hydrolyzed and becomes the part of liquid stream.
ODU 2014-2015 Team