April 16, 2014

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Center for Biorefining Tour a Huge Success

On August 22, 2013, the UMN Center for Biorefining led a specialized tour of the Algae and Pyrolysis Facilities at UMN Rosemount Research and Outreach Center. This tour brought together a diverse group of participants, including Minnesota State LCCMR staff, renewable energy professionals, biofuel entrepreneurs, UMN faculty and students, and various bloggers. In addition to having multiple opportunities to converse with Center for Biorefining faculty members, researchers, and students, attendees were also able to learn about the UMN’s mobile microwave assisted pyrolysis (MAP) system and view the 20,000 liter animal-wastewater-to-algae production facility in operation. Research posters, published papers and various fuel and polymer products dealing with related research were also presented to attendees.

The research activities and facilities were funded by grants and gifts from LCCMR, IREE, MCES, 3M, USDA, USDOD, DOE, DOT, Sun Grant, and private companies. The tour was supported by the UMN Rosemount Research and Outreach Center and staff.

(Click the photos to enlarge)

Rosemount-tour-webDemonstration facilities, products, and posters.

 Rosemount-tour4-web Tour participants.

 Rosemount-tour3-webTour participants.

 Rosemount-tour2-webTour participants.


Members of the Center for Biorefining

Center for Biorefining co-sponsors 2012 Sino-US Symposium on Eco-agriculture and Biomass Energy Industry

Center for Biorefining is hosting the Renewable Energy Session of the “2012 Sino-US Symposium on Eco-agriculture and Biomass Energy Industry”. The participants are mainly from faculty members of 12 Chinese universities. They will spend several days in California where they will attend the Eco-agriculture session and visit several CA universities. The delegation will spend three days in the Twin Cities. The Renewable Energy Session will feature speakers from IREE, BBE, AE, and local company on topics ranging from overview of renewable energy R&D at UMN, production and logistics of cellulosic and algal biomass, biomass conversion, biofuel production, wastes management and utilization, and techno-economic analysis and life cycle analysis of renewable energy. A copy of the symposium agenda can be downloaded from here.

Mass Culture of Microalgae for Biofuels

The Center for Biorefining received $2 million funding from LCCMR, MN DOC, MCES, and IREE to support research on developing transferable technologies for mass culture of microalgae utilizing nutrients from wastewater and carbon source from flue gas for biofuel production. Harvested algae will be used as a biomass feedstock for biodiesel and other renewable energy production.  The specific objectives of the project are to (1) test and develop photobioreactors (PBR), (2) study the growth characteristics of some collected algae strains, (3) evaluate and develop harvest and oil extract processes.  Several PBRs were developed and studied. More than 30 strains were screened, and some of them were found to grow well on wastewater. A simple harvest technique was also developed. Production of high oil content microalgae for biodiesel fuel, coupled with wastewater treatment and flue gas emission control, provides significant environmental benefits and improves the economic feasibility of the whole approach.