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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOP, ENHANCE AND TRANSFER GIN TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE FIBER QUALITY AND PROFITS

Location: Cotton Ginning Laboratory(Stoneville, MS)

Title: Toward on-line measurement of algal properties

Authors
item Thomasson, J. Alex -
item Sui, Ruixiu
item Yao, Yao -
item Ge, Yufeng -

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 7, 2010
Publication Date: August 16, 2010
Citation: Thomasson, J., Sui, R., Yao, Y., Ge, Y. 2010. Toward on-line measurement of algal properties. Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Paper No. 1009359. June 20-23, 2010, Pittsburgh, PA.

Interpretive Summary: As general trends, world energy demand is increasing, and fossil fuel resources are decreasing. These trends lead inevitably to higher energy costs and problems with availability and distribution, which further lead to concerns over national security. Along with environmental considerations, these trends have produced a widely understood need for alternative energy sources such as biomass. Compared to bio-energy from agriculture and forestry, algae can produce much higher amounts of energy per unit area. Industrial-scale algae production requires process control, which further requires sensors to measure critical algal properties. One of the principal properties that needs to be measured in algae production is optical density (OD). In this research work an opto-electronic sensor was developed for the initial purpose of measuring optical density in real time in situ. A prototype of the sensor was built and proved to be accurate, with an R2 value greater than 0.98 when compared to laboratory OD measurements. The prototype also worked well in a field test. Future work will involve improving the sensor’s resistance to electronic noise in external environments, extending the sensor’s capabilities to include accuracy across numerous algal species, and increasing the number of algal properties it can measure beyond simply optical density.

Technical Abstract: Algai is a potential soruce of large amounts of lipids for conversion to hydrocarbon fuels. Industria-scale algai production requires process control, which further requires sensors to measure critical algal properties. One of the principal properties that needs to be measured in algae production is optical density. In this work an opto-electronic sensor was developed for the initial purpose of measuring optical density in real time in situ. A prototype was built and proved to be very accurate, with an R2 value greater than 0.98 when compared to laboratory OD measurements. The prototype also worked very well in a field test in which the range of OD values measured was limited.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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