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Creating Future Generation Fuels

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Researchersbuilding stronger, greener concrete with biofuel byproducts

Posted by krishna on April 10, 2013 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

MANHATTAN,KAN. -- Kansas State University civil engineers are developing the right mix toreduce concrete's carbon footprint and make it stronger. Their innovative ingredient: biofuel byproducts.


"The idea is to use bioethanol productionbyproducts to produce a material to use in concrete as a partial replacement ofcement," said Feraidon Ataie, doctoral student in civil engineering,Kabul, Afghanistan. "By using these materials we can reduce the carbonfootprint of concrete materials."


Concrete is made from three major components:portland cement, water and aggregate. The world uses nearly 7 billion cubicmeters of concrete a year, making concrete the most-used industrial materialafter water, said Kyle Riding, assistant professor of civil engineering andAtaie's faculty mentor.

The researchers are specificallylooking at byproducts from production of cellulosic ethanol, which is biofuelproduced from inedible material such as wood chips, wheat straw or otheragricultural residue. Cellulosic ethanol is different from traditionalbioethanol, which uses corn and grain to make biofuel. Corn ethanol's byproduct-- called distiller's dried grains -- can be used as cattle feed, butcellulosic ethanol's byproduct -- called high-lignin residue -- is oftenperceived as less valuable. When the researchers added the high-lignin ashbyproduct to cement, the ash reacted chemically with the cement to make itstronger. The researchers tested the finished concrete material and found thatreplacing 20 percent of the cement with cellulosic material after burningincreased the strength of the concrete by 32 percent. They could greatly affectKansas and other agricultural states that produce crops such as wheat and corn.After harvesting these crops, the leftover wheat straw and corn stover can beused for making cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol byproducts then can beadded to cement to strengthen concrete.

The researchers have publishedsome of their work in the American Society of Civil Engineer's Journal ofMaterials in Civil Engineering and are preparing several otherpublications. Ataie also was one of two Kansas State University graduatestudents named a winner at the 2013 Capitol Graduate Research Summit in Topeka.His poster was titled "Utilization of high lignin residue ash (HLRA) inconcrete materials." The research at Kansas State University was funded bymore than $210,000 from the National Science Foundation. The researcherscollaborated with the University of Texas, North Carolina State University andthe National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. The research alsoinvolved Antoine Borden, senior in civil engineering, Colorado Springs, Colo.


Algae bioinformatics

Posted by krishna on February 2, 2013 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Algae bioinformatics, as the name suggests is the application of information technology to decipher more algae with the aid of computational tools and softwares. This emerging field, just like the other streams of bioinformatics employs computational or dry lab techniques for applications in various areas such as gene prediction, comparative genomics, genome analysis, and functional genomics and so on.


Algae bioinformatics cannot be performed without computer science, biology and genetics with a good-sized dollop of mathematics, statistics and other medical specialties thrown into the mix. There are loads of tools which are available for algae bioinformatics research.

Research on Hydrogen Production

Posted by krishnendu bera on February 2, 2013 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Greenbaum and co-workers reported very high (10 to 20%) efficiencies of light conversion to hydrogen, based on PAR (photosynthetically active radiation which includes light energy of 400-700nm in wavelength). These authors recently reported what may represent a "short circuit" of photosynthesis, whereby hydrogen production and CO2 fixation occurred by a single photosystem (photosystem II only) of a Chlamydomonas mutant .