Producing Clean Energy and Value-Added Products from Agricultural Wastes

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Faculty Advisor
Xu Li
Contact Email
Potential UCARE Research Position?
Start Date
Tue, 03/01/2022
Paid or Volunteer
Paid by UCARE funding
Paid Rate
Paid by UCARE funding

Modernizing the agricultural industry is critical in building a sustainable future. One important component of agricultural modernization is to manage agricultural wastes from the perspective of circular economy. A waste-to-resource approach should be developed to convert the organics in animal wastes to clean energy (e.g., hydrogen gas) or value-added products (e.g., medium chain carboxylic acids, or MCCAs). Hydrogen gas is an important form of energy in decarbonizing the economy, while MCCAs can be used as feedstocks to produce valuable chemical compounds. The first objective of this project is to develop and operate a bioreactor system to convert the organics in animal wastes into hydrogen gas or MCCAs. The second objective is to characterize the microbes inside the bioreactor system. The UCARE student will help operate and optimize the bioreactor system to maximize the production of target molecules (e.g., hydrogen gas or MCCAs) from animal wastes. The student will also learn and conduct molecular tests to analyze the microbiome inside the bioreactor system.

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