Green Joule

Maximizing Potential of Microalgae

Biofuels are fuels derived from biological sources; their renewable nature makes them a promising alternative to fossil fuels. Since the 1950s, algae has been commercially cultivated (mainly for pharmaceutical products) and recently gained attention as a potential biofuel source. However, due to the price of production, it creates a big limitation for the utilization of algae biofuels. Join us as we work to offset the production cost of algae biofuels by combining algae growth with wastewater treatment and simultaneously extracting carbohydrates and lipids to produce two different types of biofuels.

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Project

The algae project began at UBC in 2016 as a research project, which focused on the design of a cost-efficient photobioreactor using bioluminescent algae strains. Since the summer of 2017, the focus shifted to the growth and extraction processes; we wanted to combine the different uses of microalgae to maximize production. Algae is one of many feedstocks used to produce biofuels from biomass, as well as a medium used for wastewater treatment to reduce the nitrogen content in secondary effluents. Currently, two types of biofuels can be extracted from algae; biodiesel and bioethanol. Cytosolic lipid bodies contain substantial amounts of triacylglycerides (TAG), which can then be processed into biodiesel via transesterification. Monomeric sugars from carbohydrates can be fermented into bioethanol. Our project aims to combine all three usages of microalgae (reduction of nitrogen content in wastewater, production of biodiesel, and production of bioethanol) into one process. This way, we offset the production cost of algae biofuels by maximizing the products.

Project Details

2020/2021 Recruitment

Closed for the year! Contact [email protected] if you have any questions!

Subteams

Growth

The growth team is responsible for cultivating microalgae using different growth conditions. Their objective is to optimize the lipid and sugar content in the cells. Members formulate the growth medium and isolate the grown microalgae for extraction usage.

Extraction

The extraction team is responsible for converting the microalgae into biofuels. Their objective is to optimize the biofuel yield. Members separate the lipids and sugars from the cultivated cells and process both into biodiesel and bioethanol, respectively.

Monitoring

The monitoring team is responsible for monitoring the microalgae culture conditions to determine the optimal time for cultivation. Members will create a system that collects data from the growth cultures.

Impact Analysis

The impact analysis is a new addition to the project; it will be responsible for analyzing the sustainability of algal biofuels. This team works closely with the projects undertaken by the Growth and Extraction Teams. Using relevant research literature and Life Cycle Assessments, they will work towards ensuring that the projects have minimal adverse effects on the environment.

Team Members

Andrew Chen

Andrew Chen
Team Member

Ankush Kadwadkar

Ankush Kadwadkar
Team Member

Ann Joby

Ann Joby
Team Member

Daniel Ma

Daniel Ma
Green Joule Co-Lead

Danny Liu

Danny Liu
Team Member

Dua Naqvi

Dua Naqvi
Team Member

Gibran Alamgir

Gibran Alamgir
Team Member

Keanna Yu

Keanna Yu
Team Member

Kenzie Tran

Kenzie Tran
Team Member

Kevwe Obonobor

Kevwe Obonobor
Team Member

Marina Galvao

Marina Galvao
Team Member

Mohamed Elhadary

Mohamed Elhadary
Team Member

Montserrat del Toro

Montserrat del Toro
Green Joule Co-Lead

Nana Abena

Nana Abena
Team Member

Neal Elharidy

Neal Elharidy
Team Member

Prateeksha Aggarwal

Prateeksha Aggarwal
Team Member

Puneet Sidha

Puneet Sidha
Team Member

Sam Oladoyinbo

Sam Oladoyinbo
Team Member

Shyambhavi Gupta

Shyambhavi Gupta
Team Member

Tessa Price

Tessa Price
Team Member

Timothy Wong

Timothy Wong
Team Member

Utkarsh Dixit

Utkarsh Dixit
Team Member

Xavier Alhashimi

Xavier Alhashimi
Team Member

Yicong Ma

Yicong Ma
Team Member