A Holistic Approach to Harvesting Algae for Biofuels

Full Title: A Holistic Approach to Harvesting Algae for Biofuels by Pearson Justis, Kurt Lutter, and Chris Tignor
Advised by: Dr. Christopher Bachmann
Abstract: This report evaluates the environmental, political, economic, and social implications that implementing algal biofuels would have on the United States. Implementation of this fuel source could lead to greater energy independence as a country as well as help alleviate some of the current environmental issues we are facing. In 2014, greenhouse gas emissions from transportation accounted for about 26% of the total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the second largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions after the Electricity sector. Currently algal biofuel is not as economically viable as other fuel sources, however, it is better for the environment and has byproducts that may be repurposed. While there are multiple ways to harvest algal oil and various strands to choose from, this project focuses on the emulsification and processing of the algae strand Nannochloropsis. Through the emulsification of n-Hexane and saltwater algae mix, oil can be extracted from the algae cells. Ultimately the goal of this project is to deliver high-quality oils from the algae with the least amount of energy input. Optimizing the amount of n-Hexane used during the harvesting process of algal oil may allow for algae biofuels to become an economically feasible fuel alternative in the future.

Post time: Oct-05-2017