Home News WCU Biology Students take Silver for Algal Biofuel Experiment.

WCU Biology Students take Silver for Algal Biofuel Experiment. Print
Monday, 27 January 2014 11:00
On December 23, 2013, Biology Undergraduate Students Joe R. Mossman and William (Billy) Schultz and Graduate Student Zehra Zaybak took the Silver Medal at the international science competition sponsored by Bluesens Company of Germany for their entry: “Enhanced waste-to-fuel conversion with a bioelectrochemically controlled autotrophic bioreactor”. Oil rich algae are considered by many companies to be an ideal domestic replacement feedstock for imported petroleum. Algae are also rich in protein and can be used as an animal feed after oil extraction. However, in conjunction with light intensity, the very low concentration of CO2 in the air (0.04%) can severely limit algal growth rates. Their invention used a mild voltage to bacteriologically accelerate the release of CO2 during the treatment of organic waste in order to facilitate the growth of green algae.  With their prize money, the WCU team plans to further develop this promising technology for overcoming limitations imposed by low CO2 concentrations. The silver medalist team worked under the guidance and direction of Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. John M. Pisciotta. Funding for initial device construction and testing was provided by a WCU College of Arts and Science Faculty Development Grant.
 

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