Enabling advanced biofuel production through materials-inspired energy efficient separations
with Ryan P. Lively, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Algenol Biofuels

Thursday, February 7, 2013
10 a.m.
ERC 490
View seminar flier

abstract: As corn-based biofuels reach their practical limits, advanced algae-based biofuels are poised to supply the rapidly increasing demand for renewable fuels. Large energy costs in biorefineries using traditional separation techniques for dilute feedstocks are currently a hurdle, but also a major opportunity for innovation. Advanced materials and their manufacturing into low-cost, energy-efficient separation devices to meet this challenge will be the focus of the talk. First, post-combustion CO2 capture will be discussed as an economical carbon source for the algae. Besides the CO2 capture challenge, purification of dilute ethanol feeds must be addressed. Fundamental transport and thermodynamic characterizations of a suitable zeolite for this application are presented. Zeolite morphology control is demonstrated, as is the inclusion of high aspect ratio forms of the zeolite into hybrid materials. Routes forward for both separations are discussed.

biosketch: Ryan Lively is expanding his expertise in gas and liquid separations by designing new materials and processes for gas and liquid management in enclosed algal bioreactors. This position involves first-hand interaction with realistic separation challenges and requires workable solutions rooted in materials science. With an emphasis on materials research and a “top-down,” process-guided materials development strategy, Lively has created membranes and sorbents that are tailored specifically for the challenges in the biofuels industry. An array of readily tunable microporous materials, functional polymers, tunable copolymers, and a stable of commercially available polymers are the tools used in his work. Lively has created composite materials (e.g., mixed matrix membranes, hollow fiber sorbents, micro-capillary heat exchangers, etc.) that can be integrated into demanding industrial systems.

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