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Jim Kettlewell

Name: Jim Kettlewell

Research Title: Biofuels from Microalgae: Optimisation of Biomass Cultivation and Lipid Extraction Processes

Name of Director of Studies: Dr. Lynsey Melville

Key Contact Details - Email: james.kettlewell@mail.bcu.ac.uk

About the Project: To apply the statistical design of experiments (DoE) approach to determine and optimise the key experimental parameters in the cultivation of microalgae using anaerobic digestion wastewater as a growth medium, and to apply the same methodology to maximising the extraction of lipids from microalgal cells using a novel ultrasonication device.

The economic implications of optimal conditions, with reference to existing microalgal biofuel production facilities, will be a key consideration.

Research Activities: Wastewater samples will be collected and used to cultivate selected microalgal strains at bench scale initially, and key factors for maximal biomass production will be determined. This will be followed by the cultivation of microalgae within a 400L tubular photobioreactor to determine the key factors for maximal biomass production at pilot scale. A novel ultrasonic horn will be used to disrupt microalgal cells for lipid extraction. Chemical and biological analytical methods will be employed to determine biomass growth and lipid extraction efficiencies, and all numerical data will be subject to statistical and mathematical analysis.

Findings: Experimental work is at a very early stage, no results have been produced thus far.

Achievements: No publications or conference presentations have been given; no significant data has been produced at this stage.

Affiliations: Varicon Aqua Ltd, the Organic Resources Agency Ltd, Enpure Ltd and New Horizons Global Ltd.