"I applied for the University Scholars program to hopefully receive some funding for further research in the bio-fuels industry. I have become, as everyone, quite annoyed with the current price of petroleum based products, and the problems it is causing for our enviroment. I applied to possibly receive funding to research for a better tomorrow through a continuation of research in sustainable bio-fuels."
Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Primary focus in biological engineering with a specialization in bio-fuels.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Marlin Eller Memorial MWI Corporation Scholarship
- Allen G. Smajstrla Scholarship
- Florida Bright Futures
Hobbies and Interests
- Hunting, fishing, outdoors sports, snowboarding, mountain biking, skateboarding, and skydiving.
Extraction of Lipids from Cultures of Algae
Algae is a photosynthetic organism that when grown under specific conditions can produce up to 50% of their weight in lipids. These lipids can be extracted to make bio-fuels such as bio-diesel. Also, areas such as the plastics industry can replace up to 60% of its fossil fuel needs with the use of algae oil. However, the major setback of the algae oil production industry is the extraction process of the oil. Currently the industry standard for extraction is centrifugation, dewatering and mechanical extraction, and chemical extraction. These processes are very energy intensive. My focus for the research for the University Scholars program is to research alternative, more sustainable, methods of extraction of this algae oil. My current idea is to use an oxidizing agent such as titanium dioxide (TIO2) to break the algae cell walls. The physical structure of TIO2 makes it a perfect absorbed of UV wavelength light. When bombarded with UV light the TIO2 becomes excited and releases free radicals of O-H molecules. These molecules have a negative charge and are the driving force for oxidizing any compounds in their environment. My theory is the the O-H radicals will oxidize the algae cell wall, which when ruptured will allow for the low density oils to filter out and make their way to the surface of the solution. This oil can then be screened off the top of the surface, and the ruptured cells can be turned into animal feed.