Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

From Pollution to Possibility: A Sustainable and Interdisciplinary Solution to Biodiesel Production Wastewater

EPA Grant Number: SU835546
Title: From Pollution to Possibility: A Sustainable and Interdisciplinary Solution to Biodiesel Production Wastewater
Investigators: Crumrine, David , Lishawa, Shane C. , McDowell, Sarah , Vail, Lane , Waickman, Zach
Institution: Loyola University of Chicago
EPA Project Officer: Lank, Gregory
Phase: II
Project Period: August 15, 2013 through August 14, 2015
Project Amount: $90,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2013) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability

Description:

An emerging global water crisis is compounding the stresses that a changing climate is exerting on human and natural communities. As concerned citizens, educators, and members of a university committed to excellence in research, values-based leadership, and service to humanity, we are compelled to address the climate change and freshwater crises.

Objective:

Building on the scientific and educational successes achieved in Phase I, we will implement a three-branched Phase-II project focused on design, scientific experimentation, and outreach education. The project will consist of 1) designing a small-scale, affordable, and effective, solar-powered methanol recovery unit and building several prototypes; 2) continuing development of biological, non-toxic, and carbon emissions-reducing treatments for biodiesel waste through adaptive scientific experimentation and design, with the goal of launching a 0-waste, biodiesel production and waste-management system in year 2 and; 3) conducting outreach education consisting of a) developing and introducing high-school science curricula based on project outcomes, b) publishing research results and designs, and c) distributing published materials and conducting outreach to small-scale biodiesel producers throughout North America.

Approach:

Goal 1) Achieve the ultimate biodiesel sustainability goal, zero-waste biodiesel production. We will evaluate our success by monitoring all energy and material inputs and outputs through our system. Goal 2) Design, build, test, and publish plans for a small-scale solar methanol recovery (SMR) unit for education, research, and biodiesel producers. Goal 3) Using the SMR unit as a teaching tool, create hands-on high school science curricula demonstrating environmental and physical science concepts and introduce the curricula in 5 high schools. Goal 4) Complete research on hydroponic growth of Salicornia for salinity reduction and additional oil production. Goal 5) Build a production-scale hydroponic desalination living system and incorporate it into our closed-loop biodiesel production process. Goal 6) Develop a co-product for the re-use of residual free-fatty-acids by conducting experimental acid-catalyzed biodiesel production, biogas production through anaerobic digestion, and candle production. Goal 7) Host a conference at LUC for the Collegiate Biodiesel Producers Network, and evaluate its success by conducting post-conference member surveys.

Supplemental Keywords:

alternative energy, carbon dioxide, Chicago, clean technology, conservation, documentary, ecology, emissions, global climate, halophyte, human health, K-12, policy analysis, pollution prevention, public forum, renewable, sulfur oxides, transportation, waste reduction, waste vegetable oil, waste water

Relevant Websites:

Phase 1 Abstract

P3 Phase I:

From Pollution To Possibility: A Sustainable And Interdisciplinary Solution To Biodiesel Production Wastewater  | Final Report