Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Chemical Engineering

Advisor

Hestekin, Jamie A

Abstract

Algae are a unique and remarkable species of plant that is capable of thriving on land deemed useless for the cultivation of food crops. They also breathe in the harmful greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. As the fastest living organism to complete a life cycle, algae is the single most effective user of carbon dioxide in the world thus making it an important ally for diminishing the threat of global warming. Furthermore, algae are comprised of high concentrations of lipids, rendering it an appealing option for use in biodiesel production, specifically butanol. Increasing the algae’s supply of carbon dioxide gas causes increased growth, multiplying the amount of algae, and, therefore, the amount of lipids harvested making algae oil a viable option for the next biodiesel feedstock. Research reveals that algae grow at a quicker pace near carbon dioxide emitting power plants; however, experiments have proven successful that utilized the use carbon dioxide permeable hollow fiber membranes to deliver a high concentration of pure carbon dioxide gas to algae in a laboratory setting. The hollow fiber membranes used previously have been shown to demonstrate a low tolerance to physical strain caused by harvesting the algae. The hollow fiber spinning apparatus I have designed will allow modification of the current membrane design for optimum results in the outdoor biological system, thus increasing the amount of algae further, thus increasing the amount of biofuel produced by a system.

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