Algae Solar Panel Project

Algae Solar Panel Project

Grant Amount: $6,456

Project Theme: Energy Conservation & Efficiency

Project Sponsor: Biofuels Technology Club

Project Description:

The Biofuels Technology Club (BTC) is a College of Chemistry club, whose committed mission is to achieve a zero-waste campus. By making biodiesel from waste cooking oil in the campus dining halls, the club has the goal of eventually powering campus fleets. Though CalDining continues to provide an excellent source of oil for feedstock, we have launched an experimental team to look into other potential sources if increased scale is needed. One key area of exploration is microalgae; as it produces lipid content, accumulates in biomass rapidly, and requires low-maintenance. After the algae is grown in the designed apparatus, it will be filtered, and oil will be extracted to use in the club’s research lab facility, and be tested in the Richmond Field Station. A viable location for the algae panels is the rectangular, unused fountain in the middle of the CoC Plaza. Hosting a student-led, sustainability driven project is advantageous to the university to both promote student innovation, and improve campus aesthetics. We will measure sustainability measurements through the amount of carbon avoided from fossil fuels used by vehicles powered by algae biofuels, students working on the project, potential research presentations on small-scale algae culture findings, and total hours spent working on the project.

Project Goals:

1. Utilize algae to convert CalDining waste cooking oil into ASTM quality biodiesel at a scale of 50 gallons per calendar year.

2. Achieve a significant reduction in CO2 emissions by switching vehicles from using diesel to biodiesel.

Project Leader: Caroline Christophersen

Spring 2022 Final Application