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2016

A MICROBIAL FUEL CELL ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION FROM HIGHLY

DILUTED

ORGANIC WASTE

POWER GENERATION FROM HIGHLY DILUTED ORGANIC WASTE PI: PROF. HIROHITO TORRES, PHD, PE PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY

PI: PROF. HIROHITO TORRES, PHD, PE PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY DEPARTMENT UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO ARECIBO, PR

MAY 15, 2016

ABSTRACT

Puerto Rico has as a well-too-high energy consumption rate, and depends about 99% on imported fossil fuels. Therefore, it needs to replace part of this energy with renewable energy. According to the National Resources and Conservation Services (NCRS) and the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority, there is no current project in the island to convert manure or sewer waste into energy, neither any bioreactor for that purpose. The direct conversion of waste to electricity is fundamental to make this type of project feasible.

A Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) is a technology that can convert organic material into eco-friendly

electricity. Simply stated, a MFC is like a battery capable of producing a voltage of around 0.5

volts at a power production of several hundreds of µwatts when uses it with inexpensive carbon

electrodes. This energy production is not a record breaking number, however, if several units can

be constructed and connected in series to increase the voltage and in parallel to increase the current,

with an appropriated voltage transformer, the potential to generate electricity to power intensive

energy demanding equipment might be possible. Noticed that in the process of producing the electricity in a MFC, the waste is being oxidized into water and carbon dioxide.

The main goal of our project is to design and construct several two chamber MFCs capable

of both producing electricity, but at the same time completing the oxidation of the organic waste.

In our system, the MFC will use inexpensive activated charcoal electrodes (constructed in our laboratory) for the anode and cathode. The chambers will be separated by a saline (KCl) bridge. The oxygen to complete the reduction process in the cathode chamber will be provided by the

Chlorella Vulgaris algae. The source of the waste will be manure from a nearby dairy farm. This waste will be prepared at an initial concentration of around at approximately 1 % total solid for a total carbon oxygen demand (COD) of 1,000 mg/L. The MFC prototype will be constructed out

of acrylic panel at a maximum volume of 2 liters (1 liter per chamber). The energy produced by

the MFC will be stored in supercapacitors to be used later to power electronic devices or recorded

to measure the performance of the MFC unit, i.e., watts per COD degraded.

1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT

1

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

3

A. PROBLEM DEFINITION

3

B. LITERATURE REVISION

4

C. PROJECT JUSTIFICATION

5

D. PROJECT OBJECTIVES

7

E. METHODS AND ACTIVITIES

8

F. CHALLENGES

12

WORK SCHEDULE

14

REFERENCES

14

BUDGET

15

APPENDIX I: CURRICULUM VITAE

17

APPENDIX II: FUTURE PLANS

19

2

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

A. Problem Definition

In this project, the potential to tap the microorganism electron transport mechanism for the

production of electricity will be studied. The free electrons available for conducting electricity

during degradation of organic material are known as exoelectron. These free electrons are typically

transferred to oxygen molecules in the Electrons Transport Chain (ETC) during the aerobic

respiratory metabolism in microorganisms to complete the food (carbon source) oxidation process.

However, If microorganisms are forced to go anaerobic (no oxygen environment), the electrons

within the ETC will be halted unless an electrical path is provided.

A Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) is a recent technology that can convert organic material into eco-

friendly electricity.

around 0.5 volts

Simply stated, a MFC is like a battery capable of producing a voltage of

at a power production of several hundreds of µwatts when it is used with

inexpensive carbon electrodes. This energy production is not a record breaking number, however,

if several units can be constructed and connected in series to increase the voltage and in parallel to

increase the current, with an appropriated voltage transformer, the potential to generate electricity

to power home electronic devices might be possible. Noticed that in the process of producing the

electricity, the organic waste is being oxidized into water and carbon dioxide.

Given that in Puerto Rico there is no renewable alternative of what to do with the organic waste

highly diluted (COD at less than 1000 mg/L), this research will tackle the application of this

emerging technology to such a problem.

3

B. Literature Revision

As explained by one of the investigators of MFCs 1 , the use of a MFC is a novel approach to small

scale electrical power generation that could be useful for recharging many small instruments that

uses direct current such as cell phones, cameras, medical equipment or any other device as long

as the voltage and power requirements are met.

The simplest approach to construct a MFC is the double chamber unit separated by a membrane

capable of proton exchange as shown in Figure-A 2 .

capable of proton exchange as shown in Figure-A 2 . FIGURE A: Two chamber Microbial Fuel

FIGURE A: Two chamber Microbial Fuel Cell. The freed electrons from the anode are transferred into the cathode to power electronic devices

In this type of setup, the organic material in the left hand side chamber will be oxidized by the

microbe anaerobically while the right hand side is aerated for the reduction step. The free electrons

during the Electron-Transfer-Chain mechanism are captured by the anode electrode and delivered

to the cathode. In doing so, these free electrons can power electronics or any device that its power

1 video.mit.edu/watch/bruce-logan-bioenergy-production-using-microbial-fuel-cell-technologies-5277/

2 microbialenergysolutions.weebly.com/the-project.html

4

requirements can be met.

Noticed that for this circuit to work, the proton generated in the left

chamber must be able to diffuse into the aerated chamber to eventually form water.

There are several techniques used to allow for the proton diffusion process. These tend to fall into

the proton exchange membrane (PEM) such as nafion and ultrex barriers.

On the other hand,

simple salt bridges can be used also for proton exchange, perhaps with a lower production of power

per contact area between the chambers 3,4 .

C. Project Justification

Puerto Rico has a well-too-high energy consumption rate, and depends about

99% on imported fossil fuels 5 . Therefore, it needs to replace part of this

energy with renewable energy. According to the National Resources and

Conservation Services (NCRS) and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer

Authority, there is no current project on the island to convert organic waste

into energy, neither any bioreactor for that purpose.

waste into energy, neither any bioreactor for that purpose. Basically, as per the last two financial

Basically, as per the last two financial reports published by the Puerto Rico Electrical Power

Authority (PREPA) and posted on their web page, this corporation spent about $ 2,900 and $ 2,600

million on imported fossil fuel only for electricity generation in years 2012 6 and 2013 7

respectively.

These quantities represent about 66 % of the Operating costs for PREPA.

The

3 Nair Ramya et al., “Performance of salt-bridge microbial fuel cell at various agarose Concentrations using hostel sewage waste as substrate”, International Journal of Advancements in Research & Technology, Vol. 2, Issue 5, May- 2013 pp. 327-330

4 Muralidharan A.

et al.,“Impact of Salt Concentration on Electricity Production in Microbial Hydrogen Based Salt

Bridge Fuel Cells “, Indian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Life Sciences 2011 Vol. 1 (2) April – June, pp. 178-184

5 http://www.aeepr.com/INVESTORS/OperationalProfile.aspx

6 http://www.aeepr.com/INVESTORS/DOCS/Financial%20Information/Annual%20Reports/thirty%20ninth%20AR%0

2012.pdf

7 http://www.aeepr.com/INVESTORS/DOCS/Financial%20Information/Annual%20Reports/Consulting%20Engrs%20

Annual%20Report%20FY2013.pdf

5

potential to reduce some of this cost by the implementation of renewable energy will have

profound implication for the local economy.

For example, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) has reported that in the

year 2015 they treated about 233 million of gallons per day (233 MGD) 8 . The potential to produce

energy from the organic waste water has been estimated in about 1.9 KWH per cubic meter of

treated water 9 . Hence, PRASA might have the potential to generate about 612 M-KWH/year or

enough energy to make their water treatment facilities totally energy self-sufficient.

Basically, this project is one of several that we have worked with PRASA in the past. Since 2014

we have done some characterization of the PRASA waste that is treated at the Barceloneta Waste

Water Plant. In fact, one of my students recently completed his MS degree studying the potential

to produce methane from the Barceloneta Waste Water sludge 10 . Unfortunately, as shown in his

thesis, the production of biogas was not enough to make the project feasible since for production

of electricity, the biogas was required to be burned in an internal combustion engine. Hence, in

this project, the approach is different, the conversion of the organic waste to electricity will be

done directly.

8 http://www.acueductospr.com/INVESTORS/Investors_ataglance.html

9 YYang, Y et al., “Boosting Power Density of Microbial Fuel Cells with 3D Nitrogen-Doped Graphene Aerogel Electrode”, Advanced Science. doi: 10.1002/advs.201600097

10 Perez, W., “Determination of the Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) of excess Waste Activated Sludge (WAS) in the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant of Barceloneta, P.R.”, Thesis presented for the MS degree, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, San German Campus.

6

D. Project Objectives

The main objectives of this research are as follows:

1. Construct at least 4 two chamber MFCs in where waste water can be converted directly to

electricity by taping the microbial electron transport system. The chamber volume will be

about 1 liter.

2. Prepare active charcoal electrodes to allow for the microfilm formation and therefore the

conduction of electricity. As an alternative, platinum nanoparticles will be used to lower

the internal resistance of the electrodes.

3. Inoculate

the

MFC

anode

electrode

(electron

generating

chamber)

with

aerobic

microorganism used in the Barceloneta Water Treatment Plant.

4. Runs control experiments with glucose prepared waste-like media to measure the power

produced in the MFC per gram of glucose degraded

5. Compare the electricity production capacity of the MFC when proton exchange membranes

are compared against potassium chloride saline bridges.

6. Substitute the direct bubbling of oxygen in the oxidation chamber (cathode side) by algae-

oxygen producing organism.

7. Maintain the operation of these MFCs continuously for about 60 days (maximum) to

determine the feasibility of a large scale units. Can we afford this type of bioreactors in

our household for electricity generation?

8. After completing the control experiments, the use of manure waste will be tested. The

feasibility of the MFC will be studied as a possible system for electricity generation and

waste degradation for our local community involved in the dairy industry.

7

E. Methods and Activities

In this project, the

two chamber MFC prototype will be constructed for waste water based on

current technology, but avoiding expensive material such as the Proton Exchange Membrane

(PEM) or expensive platinum electrodes.

acrylic material as shown in Figure B.

The two chamber prototype will be constructed out

Figure B. The two chamber prototype will be constructed out FIGURE B: MFC based on two

FIGURE B: MFC based on two chamber compartment. The waste will be deposited in the anode side and the algae in the cathode side.

For the aeration, a simple aquarium pump with a capacity of 100 mL/minutes will be used to keep

the cathode chamber solution saturated with oxygen. However, the aeration pump at a later time

will be substituted with Chlorella Vulgaris. Chlorella is a micro algae that has been grown in our

laboratory 11 ,12 ,13 in past investigations.

Chlorella.

Photos 1 to 9 show the effort done on growing the

11 Betzaida Aponte- Hernández, et al…and Prof. Hirohito Torres (Advisor) “On the growth of chlorella vulgaris algae for biodiesel production” Results were presented at the 10th Undergraduate Research Forum, UPR-Arecibo, May

2014

12 Joseph Bernes, Maria Quinones and Prof. Hirohito Torres (Advisor) “Enhancing the growth of Chlorella vulgaris using indoor bioreactors supplemented with CO2 gas” Results were at the 11th Undergraduate Research Forum, UPR-Arecibo, Dec 2014

13 Joseph Bernes et al. and Prof. Hirohito Torres (Advisor) “Analyzing the Effects of Growing Chlorella vulgaris in a Fed-Batch System, for the Purpose of Enhancing Cell Concentration and Biomass Density for Viable Biofuel Production” Results were presented on the 12th Undergraduate Research Forum, UPR-Arecibo, May 2015

8

The main idea here is that Chlorella Vulgaris will produce the required oxygen to drive
The main idea here is that Chlorella Vulgaris will produce the required oxygen to drive

The main idea here is that Chlorella Vulgaris will produce the required oxygen to drive the MFC.

The typical cell density achieved in our laboratory has been around 2 x10 7 cells/mL. This is

potentially a production of oxygen at around 2 x 10 -3 mol/hr-liter. The potential to use MFC for

waste water treatment combined with the oxygen production capability of the Chlorella can have

profound implication for areas where the availability of oxygen is negligible or required for

important task such as NASA long term space missions.

The cathode and anode electrodes will be constructed from activated charcoal following a simple

technique developed in our laboratory for the preparation of supercapacitors (above 1 Faraday) 14 .

Simply stated, wood-based activated charcoal was obtained from a local store.

Small charcoal

pieces that were below a resistance of 50 ohms were pulverized in a blender until a granular

14 Ramon Torres, Marcos Romero and Prof. Hirohito Torres (Advisor) “Construction of a double layer capacitor based on activated charcoal electrodes” Results from this investigation will be presented at the 13 th Undergraduate Research Forum, Dec 2015

9

material was obtained.

The pulverized material was separated in a plate-sieve equipment and the

layer between 500 to 800 micron range was used for the electrode preparation.

In order to get

good electrode integrity, an epoxy binder was used in a layer by layer deposition.

As per this

technique, we started to produce supercapacitor with a capacitance well above 1 Faraday.

The

integrity of the electrodes has been maintained even under 7.5 M NaOH electrolyte solution for

several months under many charge/discharge capacitor cycle. Figures 10 shows the preparation

of the activated charcoal electrodes.

shows the preparation of the activated charcoal electrodes. FIGURE 10: Preparation of activated charcoal electrodes
shows the preparation of the activated charcoal electrodes. FIGURE 10: Preparation of activated charcoal electrodes
shows the preparation of the activated charcoal electrodes. FIGURE 10: Preparation of activated charcoal electrodes
shows the preparation of the activated charcoal electrodes. FIGURE 10: Preparation of activated charcoal electrodes

FIGURE 10: Preparation of activated charcoal electrodes

Although recent literature has pushed for the expensive proton exchange membrane (PEM), the

MFC in this project will use the potassium chloride bridge.

This type of bridge is used for

galvanic cells. In Figure 11 we show some of the experience that we have had preparing this type

of system.

show some of the experience that we have had preparing this type of system. FIGURE 11:
show some of the experience that we have had preparing this type of system. FIGURE 11:
show some of the experience that we have had preparing this type of system. FIGURE 11:

FIGURE 11: Galvanic Cell with a KCl bridge

10

The microorganism to be used in the anode chamber will be obtained from the Barceloneta Waste

Water Plant.

The anode chamber will be inoculated with the activated sludge to allow for a

microfilm to form in the anode electrode at a glucose concentration of 1 g/L as the carbon source.

The open voltage (the voltage that develops between the anode and cathode electrodes) will be

continuously measured until it starts to drop due to food starvation. This process will be repeated

at least three (3) times with new inoculum to enhance the biofilm formation over the anode. The

concentration of the glucose will be followed with an enzymatic colorimetric test. After this step,

the circuit will be closed with a 10 k-ohm variable resistor between the anode and cathode

electrodes. The produced voltage drop across the resistor will be measured and recorded for several

weeks. The power produced by the MFC will be calculated as follows:

= =

in

where,

W

= watts produced by the MFC (Joules/seconds)

V

= voltage drop across the resistor (volts)

I = current flow (Ampere)

These control experiments will also measure the amount of degraded of organic material. Hence,

the watts produced can be normalized against the COD consumed. This type of analysis is critical

for the design of a larger unit.

After completing the control runs, manure waste obtained from a local dairy farm will be treated

in the MFC reactors. A waste of about 1 % total solid with a 80 % volatile organic content will

be prepared from fresh manure.

This is equivalent to a COD of 1,000 mg/L.

The waste

concentration will be tested every other day for COD removal. The carbon dioxide produced in

11

the anaerobically maintained chamber will be vented to a water trap. The power produced will be

recorded as per the control experiments.

It is the experience of this investigator 15,16,17,18 that most production of methane from manure waste

sources in an anaerobic reactor is mostly done within 30 days if agitation is used. We do not know

if agitation should be used in this MFC, however, we can set the unit over a magnetic stirrer to

ensure good mixing of the waste.

F. Challenges

There are many challenges on this project, one of them is the proper adhesion of the microbial

consortia to the anode electrode. Previous results obtained in our laboratory in a packed bed

bioreactor 19 used for biogas generation demonstrated that the bacteria adhesion process can take

several weeks. In order to be successful, we need to present to the microbial consortia plenty of

surface area. This is done by creating a highly porous anode surface electrode.

15 Aquino, D, et al. and Prof. Hirohito Torres (Advisor), “Biogas Production Rate as a Function of Total Solid Manure Concentration” Investigation presented at the 7 th Undergraduate Research Forum, UPR-Arecibo PR, December 2012

16 Vega, J and Prof. Hirohito Torres (Advisor), “Biogas Production and Utilization in a Four Cycle Combustion

Engine” Investigation presented at the 6 th Undergraduate Research Forum, UPRArecibo PR, May 2012

17 Gonez, L, et al. and Prof. Hirohito Torres (Advisor), “Biofuel Production: Kinetic Analysis of Biogas Formation in a Batch Reactor” Investigation presented at the 47th ACS Junior Technical Meeting 2012 of Undergraduate Research , UPR-Carolina PR, March 10, 2012

18 Torres, H “A Quantitative Analysis of Methane Production from Manure in a Batch

Bioreactor: Manure in your gas tank ? Maybe yes…” Investigation presented at the

XXVIII Congreso Latinoamericano de Química, Centro de Convenciones de San Juan,

PR, July 27-31, 2008

19 Martinez, M. et al. and Prof. Hirohito Torres (Advisor), “Optimización de la Producción de Biogás como Combustible Renovable utilizando superficies de CaO.SiO2.xH2O (silicato de calico hidratado)” Results of this investigation were presented at the 2nd Undergraduate Research Forum, UPR-Arecibo PR, May 2009

12

Secondly, the generation of useful power by the MFC is quite limited if a single MFC cell is used.

It is the expectation of this investigator, that although the generated power can be around 0.5 volts,

the use of a frequency step-up transformer is critical to make this power available at a higher

voltage. For example, the supercapacitors that were prepared in our lab were able to provide the

required power to a LED for days provided that we used a step-up transformer which was powered

by the same source of energy. Figure12 shows a circuit diagram on how we plan to handle the low

voltage from the MFC 20 by using the step-up transformer.

from the MFC 2 0 by using the step-up transformer. FIGURE 12: Step-Up Frequency Transformer In

FIGURE 12: Step-Up Frequency Transformer

In principle, this circuit can be used to step up the voltage of many low voltage sources such a

single solar cell (0.5 volts), a Peltier module (Seebeck effect), a hydrogen fuel cell or a small power

generation from a mechanical device.

The last challenge has to do with the reliability of the salt bridge as required for the proton

exchange process.

Our experience is that the agar will be degraded by the bacteria consortia

growing on the anaerobic reactor chamber. How fast the degradation of the salt bridge will happen,

it is not known, but for good oxidation of the manure waste, the bridge has to last at least 30 days.

Other options for the bridge proton exchange will be considered also for comparison purpose.

20 This frequency step-up transformer circuit is from makezine.com/projects/joule-thief-battery-charger/

13

WORK SCHEDULE

TASK

     

ID

TASK DESCRIPTION

START

END

 

COMPLETE PROCUREMENT OF EQUIPMENT AND

   

1

MATERIAL IDENTIFIED IN THE BUDGET LIST

08/2016

10/2016

2

BUILD AND INSTALL EQUIPMENT

09/2016

11/2016

3

RUNS CONTROL EXPERIMENTS

11/2016

02/2017

4

RUNS MANURE EXPERIMENTS

02/2017

05/2017

5

COMPLETE REPORT

05/2017

05/2017

REFERENCES

References for this proposal were included as footnotes.

14

BUDGET

Universidad de Puerto Rico en Arecibo

Comité Institucional de Investigación y Creación Académica

Institucional de Investigación y Creación Académica Centro de Investigación y Creación (CIC) Propuesta de

Centro de Investigación y Creación (CIC)

Propuesta de Investigación Académica y Creación

FORMULARIO DE PRESUPUESTO

Académica y Creación FORMULARIO DE PRESUPUESTO Título de la Propuesta MICROBIAL FUELL CELL: ELECTRICAL

Título de la Propuesta MICROBIAL FUELL CELL: ELECTRICAL POWER GENERATION FROM HIGHLY DILUTED ORGANIC WASTE

 

DESCARGAS ACADÉMICAS

 

Nombre(s) de el(los) proponente(s)

 

Créditos totales

Cantidad ($)

1

HIROHITO

TORRES DIAZ

N/A

N/A

 

2

3

 

Total $

0.0

 

SERVICIOS

Renglón

Descripción

 

Justificación

Cantidad ( $)

1

     

2

     
 

Total $ 0.0

 
 

EQUIPOS

Renglón

Descripción

 

Justificación

Cantidad ( $)

1

REACTOR GLASSWARE KIT FOR 250 mL

EQUIPMENT WILL BE USED TO SETUP THE CONTROL EXPERIMENTS

 

$ 2,000.00

 

HIGH IMPEDANCE

   

2

VOLTAGE RECORDER

EQUIPMENT WILL BE USED TO MEASURE AND RECORD THE PRODUCED POWER

 

$ 500.00

3

TWO PERISTALTIC PUMP

LOW VOLUME FLOW RATE PUMP TO PUMP AUTOMATICALLY WASTE INTO THE ANODE CHMABER

 

$ 600.00

 

TOTAL $ 3,100.00

15

 

MATERIALES

Renglón

Descripción

Justificación

Cantidad ( $)

 

¼” THICKNESS ACRYLIC

 

$ 150.00

1

PANEL

CONSTRUCTION OF LARGE BIOREACTOR

2

PVC PIPING

CONSTRUCTION OF LARGE BIOREACTOR

$ 75.00

3

BUFFER/SOLUTIONS

GROWTH OF ALGAE MICROORGANISM

$ 450.00

4

HATCH COD REAGENTS

REAGENTS REQUIRED FOR THE DETERMINATION OF THE CARBON OXYGEN DEMAND CONCENTRATION IN THE MANURE WASTE

$ 850.00

 

POLY(VINYLIDENE

MATERIAL REQUIRED FOR THE PREPARATION OF CARBON ELECTRODES

$ 600.00

5

FLUORIDE) BINDER (PVDF)

 

N-METHYL PYRROLIDONE

SOLVENT REQUIRED TO DISSOLVE THE PVDF BINDER DURING THE CARBON ELECTRODE PREPARATION

$ 1,072.00

6

SOLVENT (1 GAL)

 

PLATINUM NANOPOWDER,

MATERIAL REQUIRED FOR THE COMPARISON BETWEEN CARBON ELECTRODES VS. PLATINUM- CARBON ELECTRODES ON THE CATHODE SIDE

$ 1,200.00

7

50 AND 200 NM PARTICLE SIZE

 

STAINLESS STEEL WIRE

STAINLESS STEEL WIRE WILL BE COATED WITH PLATINUM NANOPARTICLES TO IMPROVE THE POWER DENSITY OF THE MFC.

$ 200.00

8

MESH

 

CMI-7000 CATION

MATERIAL REQUIRED FOR COMPARISON BETWEEN THE KCL BRIDGE VS. THE CMI MEMBRANE

$ 400.00

9

EXCHANGE MEMBRANE KIT

10

NAFION MEMBRANE KIT

MATERIAL REQUIRED FOR THE COMPARISON BETWEEN THE KCL BRIDGE VS. THE NAFION MEMBRANE

$ 545.00

11

GLUCOSE COLORIMETRIC TEST

REAGENT REQUIRED TO DETERMINE THE GLUCOSE CONSUMPTION BY THE BACTERIA

$ 600.00

 

Total $ 6,142.00

RESUMEN PRESUPUESTO

TOTAL DESCARGAS ACADÉMICAS

$ 0.00

BENEFICIOS MARGINALES 21

$ 0.00

TOTAL SERVICIOS

$ 0.00

TOTAL EQUIPOS

$ 3,100.00

TOTAL MATERIALES

$ 6,642.00

CAMBIOS PRECIOS EQUIPOS Y MATERIALES 22

$370.00

MANEJO Y ENVÍO 23

$ 370.00

PRESUPUESTO TOTAL 24

$ 9,981.00

21 Los beneficios marginales se obtienen a base del 9.2 % de las descargas académicas solicitadas.

22 Del valor total de materiales y equipos se debe incluir un 4% adicional para cubrir los cambios en precio que puedan surgir.

23 El presupuesto debe incluir 4% para los gastos de manejo y envío.

24 El total del presupuesto no debe exceder los $ 10,000.

16

APPENDIX I: CURRICULUM VITAE

Curriculum Vitae Hirohito Torres-Diaz, PHD, PE hirohito.torres@upr.edu

PROFESSIONAL PREPARATION

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering 1991

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, P.R.

APPOINTMENTS

M.S.E. in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering 1987

Bachelors of Chemical Engineering 1985

2012 -PRESENT Associate Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Physics & Chemistry

Department, UPR Arecibo, PR

2007 -2012 Assistant Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Physics & Chemistry

Department, UPR Arecibo, PR

1992 -2007 Part-Time Professor at the University of Puerto Rico Physics & Chemistry

Department, UPR, Arecibo, PR

2001-2007 Manufacturing Support Manager of the Pharmaceutical Merck Sharp and Dohme, Barceloneta, PR

1996-2001 Manufacturing Project Head - Merck Sharp and Dohme, Barceloneta, PR

1994-1996 Department Head - Merck Sharp and Dohme, Barceloneta, PR

1991-1994 Senior Scientist - Merck Sharp and Dohme, Barceloneta,PR

PUBLICATIONS/PRESENTATIONS

Aquino, D, H. Torres, et al., “Biogas Production Rate as a Function of Total Solid Manure Concentration” Investigation presented at the 7 th Forum of Undergraduate Research, UPR-Arecibo PR, December 19, 2012

17

Davila, A, H. Torres (Advisor),et al., “Design and Construction of a single piston compressor for Biogas” Investigation presented at the 7 th Forum of Undergraduate Research , UPR Arecibo

Vega, J and H. Torres (Advisor), “Biogas Production and Utilization in a Four Cycle Combustion Engine” Investigation presented at the 6 th Forum of Undergraduate Research, UPR-Arecibo PR, May 16, 2012

Gonez, L and H.Torres(Advisor), “Renewable Energy: Design and Construction of a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine” Investigation presented at the 6 th Forum of Undergraduate Research, UPR-Arecibo PR, May 16, 2012

Gonez, L, H.Torres (Advisor), et al., “Biofuel Production: Kinetic Analysis of Biogas Formation in a Batch Reactor” Investigation presented at the 47 th ACS Junior Technical Meeting 2012 of Undergraduate Research , UPR-Carolina PR, March 10, 2012

Torres,H “Ocean Energy Extraction” A Seminar presented to the Institute of Chemical Engineers from Puerto Rico at the Colegio de Ingenieros y Agrimensores (CIAPR), San Juan PR , May 31, 2011

Melanie, M., H. Torres (Advisor), et al. “Renewable Energy: Biofuels Production :

Experimental Setup for Biogas Generation and Continuous Flow Measurements”:, Investigation presented at the 4 th Forum for Undergraduate Research, UPR- Arecibo PR, May 25, 2011

Torres,H “Biogas 101” A Seminar presented to the Institute of Chemical Engineers from Puerto Rico at the Colegio de Ingenieros y Agrimensores (CIAPR), San Juan PR, May 31

2011

Torres,H “Ocean Energy Extraction” A Seminar presented to the community of Arecibo at Mugs Café’s, Calle Rotario , Arecibo Puerto Rico, April 1, 2011

Perez, A, H. Torres (Advisor), et al. “Quantitative Analysis of Biogas Production From Dairy Cow Manure in an Anaerobic Batch Digester” Investigation presented at the 46th ACS Junior Technical Meeting 2011 of Undergraduate Research , UIA-Bayamon PR, March 11, 2011

Martinez, M., H. Torres (Advisor), et al., “Optimización de la Producción de Biogás como Combustible Renovable utilizando superficies de CaO.SiO 2 .xH 2 O (silicato de calcio hidratado)” Investigación presentada en el Segundo Foro para la Investigación Subgraduada, UPR-Arecibo PR, 22 de mayo de 2009

Molina-Pagan,W, H. Torres (Advisor), et al., “Speciation of microorganisms found in bovine fecal biomass grown under anaerobic conditions” Investigation presented at the 237th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Salt Lake, UT, March 22-26, 2009

18

APPENDIX II: FUTURE PLANS

The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) and UPRA have completed several

collaborative projects. In fact, we recently signed a two (2) year collaborative agreement to allow

UPRA students to do their COOP practices in different PRASA Waste Water Treatment Plants.

This agreement has allowed UPRA students to study in particular the potential that the Barceloneta

Waste Water Plant has in converting the produced active sludge into energy.

This issue was

recently addressed by a student doing his M.S. degree. His thesis title was “Determination of the

Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) of excess Waste Activated Sludge (WAS) in the Municipal

Wastewater Treatment Plant of Barceloneta, P.R.” under my direction 25 .

The results of this thesis showed that the production of biogas was around 20 % of the typically

produced by cow manure. Hence, the feasibility of doing an anaerobic reactor was not supported.

However, further conversation with PRASA authority will support this new investigation in using

Microbial Fuel Cells since it represents a novel approach. This effort between the local agency

and UPRA might allow the writing of a grant to the Department of Energy (DOE) for the scale up

efforts.

25 Perez, W., “Determination of the Biochemical Methane Potential (BMP) of excess Waste Activated Sludge (WAS) in the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant of Barceloneta, P.R.”, Thesis presented for the MS degree, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, San German Campus.

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