Final Report: Mycocomposting of waster paper and the search for the next Biofuel

EPA Grant Number: SU836034
Title: Mycocomposting of waster paper and the search for the next Biofuel
Investigators: Bray ;Jr., James R. , Long, Daniel , Blasa, Masey , DeLong, Nicolaus , Hausman, Robert
Institution: Blackburn College
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2011 through August 14, 2012
Project Amount: $14,728
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Air Quality , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities

Objective:

This pilot study was designed with two goals in mind. First, theā€¢ setup of a scale-sized paper composting facility followed by isolation of the fungi carrying out the composting to assay hydrocarbon output. The above design will serve as a model of sustainability and research for the people of the community. It is our hope that this model can be adapted worldwide.

To greatly reduce cellulose/lignin waste output by using fungi and attempt to identify fungal strains producing hydrocarbons of interest in biofuel production.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

We have isolated 50 species of fungi of interest in cellulose/lignin breakdown and lipid synthesis

We have developed lipid extractions protocols and have begun to separate fungal isolates based on lipid content

The small-scale laboratory composting system may be marketable as a starter or classroom display kit.

We know that the process works and should be able to upscale to the full outdoor facility within the year.

Conclusions:

This project does show the potential of Mycocomposting to remove some paper form the waste stream. We will have to scale up the operation to investigate further. There are some fungi producing lipids of interest for possible biofuel components.