University of Delaware, Doctoral Student, Chemical Engineering, 2015 – present
University of Connecticut, Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Summa Cum Laude), Molecular and Cell Biology Minor, 2010-2015
The demand for energy is steadily growing, while the stockpiles of petroleum are quickly being depleted. As a result, new technologies capable of utilizing low value feedstocks and waste gasses, such as H2, CO, and CO2 are needed to meet our growing energy needs. One interesting solution is to utilize capabilities found in nature. Anaerobic bacteria of class Clostridium are capable of sequestering CO2 gas in the presence of an electron source (such as CO or H2) and producing higher value chemicals, such as butanol. In my project I examine the capabilities of a co-culture of two Clostridium bacteria, namely C. ljungdahlii and C. acetobutylicum. C. ljungdahlii can naturally consume CO2, H2 and CO via the Wood – Ljungdahl pathway to produce acetate and ethanol, while C. acetobutylicum can grow on a variety of sugars, utilize acetate, and produce butanol and ethanol. My goal is to use the syntrophic behavior of both bacteria to improve the butanol production.
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