Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Biological and Irrigation Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Byard Wood

Abstract

Algae are microscopic organisms with a great potential to produce biomass and lipids at productivities several times higher than terrestrial crops. To grow, these organisms consume carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. This gas, emitted primarily by power plants after coal burning, can be effectively used for algae production, thus resulting in CO2 remediation and biomass beneficial utilization as feedstuff, industrial filler and biodiesel feedstock. However, since coal is a fuel mined from the earth’s crust, it contains heavy metals that are released during coal burning and inevitably enter the algal cultivation system, contaminating the water were algae is grown, the algal biomass and the products derived from such biomass. The distribution of heavy metals from flue gas in algal cultivation systems is unknown, yet necessary to advance this industry. This study focused on quantifying the distribution and effects that ten coal-derived heavy metals (Cu, Co, Zn, Pb, As, Se, Cr, Hg, Ni and Cd) will have on algae strain Scenedesmus obliquus and on the potential products derived from this algae.

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