Research to begin on
Jun 16, 2008 12:20 PM
A $200,000 grant has been awarded to Mississippi State University (MSU) for research to transform wastewater treatment plant sludge into biodiesel, according to information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is providing the grant.
Funds from the grant will build upon the research that MSU is conducting in the field of renewable, sustainable fuels for the future. In addition to the development of a new feedstock for biodiesel, the research effort is also expected to reduce the volume of sludge that has to be disposed of, according to EPA.
The project will address the availability of sufficient feedstock to produce biofuel economically and in an environmentally friendly manner. This is a fundamental problem facing the production of renewable biofuels in large enough quantities to displace a large portion of the petroleum the nation now uses. The effort will not require the use of crops such as soybeans or canola to produce biodiesel. In addition, it should also reduce biodiesel supply chain costs by locating the feedstock source and potential production facilities near larger population centers, EPA said.
The project has the potential to convert wastewater treatment facilities to fuel producing facilities. The research team will conduct research into microorganisms to extract lipids, which are the fatty substances, from the sludge. It will then be converted into biodiesel. The research team also will evaluate the life cycle energy costs to determine the processís net energy and environmental effectiveness.
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