Facilities

Research Facilities and Equipment 

Equipment Available for Biofuels

Analytical and Thermal Analysis Laboratory

This lab is used for chromatographic analysis of biomass, bio-oil, pyrolysis gaseous products, and chemical identification of intermediate and final compounds in biochemical production of biofuels. It is also used for elemental composition analysis and chemical decomposition and kinetics analysis of biomass and biofuels. Primary capabilities include the availability of the following equipment for research:

  • Thermo Scientific Flash 2000 CHNS/O Combustion Elemental Analyzer and accessories for determination of elemental (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen) composition of biomass and biofuels.
  • Shimadzu QP-2010 Ultra EI 110v GC-MS package including FID 2010 plus and TCD 2010 plus detectors, Gc-2010 & GC-2014 capillary backflush package, twin line MS capability allowing installation of two capillary columns to the system, AOC -20I auto-injector, and NIST mass spectrum library.
  • Frontier PY-3030D-110, Multi-Mode Micro-Pyrolyzer with auto-shot sampler for Shimadzu GC-MS, an online micro reaction sampler and vent free adapter.
  • Dionex Dual Channel ICS-5000 with autosampler, CD Conductivity Detector (analytical) and Integrated Cell, ED Electrochemical Detector and accessories.
  • TA Instrument Q500 Thermogravimetric Analyzer with Hi-Res(tm) TGA and Modulated TGA(tm) Modes. This is a research grade TGA with an auto-switching dual range microbalance (0 – 200 mg and 0 – 1 gram). Features include the Hi-Res mode for enhanced resolution of overlapping signals, temperature modulation mode for model free kinetics, automated pan loading and furnace movement,  and  dual mass flow controllers with automated gas switching.
  • CAREY 50 UV/Vis spectrometer

Wet Chemistry Laboratory

This lab is used for wet analysis of biomass and bio-oil. It is also used for chemical (ionic liquid catalyzed hydrolysis) and biochemical processing of biomass into fermentable sugars and subsequent fermentation to ethanol. Primary capabilities at this lab include the availability of the following equipment for research:

  1. Deionized water system for high quality water for medium preparation, and analytical work
  2. Microscope for examination of cultures for purity
  3. Bench-top incubator for culturing micro-organisms on agar plates
  4. Thermostatically controlled circulating water bath
  5. Bench-top models of muffler furnace, refrigerated microcentrifuge
  6. New Brunswick Innova 4330 orbital incubator/shaker (shake-flask cultures up to 1-L shake flasks)
  7. Brunswick Innova 3100 Water bath shaker
  8. Yamoto Portable Top-Loading Sterilizer
  9. Revco –40 oC Freezer
  10. Beckman Coulter Avanti J20-XP centrifuge
  11. The Baker Company Biological Safety Cabinet
  12. New Brunswick 3-L Bioflo 110 Fermentor System (batch cultures with pH and temperature and DO sensor)
  13. Bellco 1-l spinner flask with stir assembly bioreactor (batch cultures with pH and temperature sensors)
  14. Shimadzu AA-6200 Atomic absorption spectrophotometer.
  15. Precision Scientific Model-28 laboratory oven
  16. Buchi Rotovapor.

Biofuels Production and Upgrading Laboratory 

This laboratory is currently under development. A high yield batch reactor has been designed and being assembled in this lab for studies on factors that affect the quality and yield for the conversion of biomass into biofuels. Future plans include the design of a fluidized bed reactor and biofuels upgrading reactor to expand the scope of the research.

Equipment Available for Energy & Environment

  1. Shimadzu Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometer:  GCMS-QP 2010
  2. Agilent High-Performance Liquid Chromatography: HPLC 1200 series system
  3. Shimadzu Total Organic Carbon Analyzer: TOC-L series of TOC analyzer
  4. DIONEX Ion Chromatography System: The ICS-5000 system
  5. Shimadzu UV-VIS Spectrophotometer: UV-1800 UV-VIS spectrophotometer
  6. Computing Cluster: HP ProLiant ML370 G6
  7. Thermo Scientific High-Volume Air Sampler
  8. The Caltech Active Strand Cloudwater Collector version 2 (CASCC2)
  9. The URG’s Annular Denuder System (University Research Glassware)

Other equipments include heating and drying ovens, muffle furnace, fume hoods, BOD incubator, water bath shaker, turbidity meter and balances for water and wastewater quality testing and wet chemistry experiments.

Capabilities

1.  Shimadzu Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometer:  GCMS-QP 2010

The SHIMADZU GCMS-QP 2010 can be used in the analysis of the alkylphenolethoxylate nonionic surfactant compounds that are persistent indicators of wastewater and other representative compounds of food additives, antioxidants, fire retardants, plasticizers, industrial solvents, disinfectants, fecal sterols, polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons, and high use domestic pesticides in domestic and industrial wastewater. It also can be used in analysis of pesticides in drinking water, direct analysis of water samples for organic pollutants.

2.  Agilent High-Performance Liquid Chromatography: HPLC 1200 series system

The AGILENT HPLC 1200 series system consist of a quaternary pump, auto sampler, degasser and column department. The HPLC 1200 series system can be used for analysis of pesticides and chlorinated phenoxy acid herbicides in drinking water, analyzing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PNAs) with gradient LC separations.

3.  Shimadzu Total Organic Carbon Analyzer: TOC-L series of TOC analyzer

The SHIMADZU TOC-L series of TOC analyzers provide an ultra wide range of 4μg/L to 30,000 mg/L with a detection limit of 4 μg/L through coordination with NDIR. In addition, the combustion catalytic oxidation method makes it possible to efficiently oxidize not only easily-decomposed, low-molecular-weight organic compounds, but also hard-to-decompose insoluble and macromolecular organic compounds.

4.  DIONEX Ion Chromatography System: The ICS-5000 system

The ICS-5000 system can be used in determination of trace concentrations of disinfection by-product anions and chlorite, bromate, bromide, and chlorate in drinking water, determination of inorganic cations, anions and ammonium in environmental waters, and determination of total phosphorus in wastewater.

5.  Shimadzu UV-VIS Spectrophotometer: UV-1800 UV-VIS spectrophotometer

The UV-1800 UV-VIS spectrophotometer equipped with a variety of measurement modes of photometric mode, spectrum mode, quantitation mode, kinetics mode for determining enzymatic activity and numerous functions as standard in biomethod mode (provided as standard) with capability of analyzing DNA and proteins using the quantitation methods.

6.  Computing Cluster: HP ProLiant ML370 G6

A computer cluster can provide many more CPUs but requires a multi-processing management system called MPI. With MPI, the CAMx modeling grid is divided into sub-regions that are processed on separate servers within a cluster and integrated by passing large data messages among the servers. CAMx with MPI allows for improved turn-around by reducing modeling run time from the current 2 hours per episode day for Houston.

7.  Thermo Scientific High-Volume Air Sampler     

The Thermo Scientific High Volume Air Sampler is designed for high volume air sampling. It can be configured for the measurement of airborne particulates for PM10, PM2.5, or Total Suspended Particulates (TSP) with a variety of inlet options.

8.  The Caltech Active Strand Cloudwater Collector version 2 (CASCC2)

The Caltech Active Strand Cloud Collector Version 2 (CASCC2) is an active fogwater / cloudwater collector with Teflon strand collection surfaces and a fan to pull the air past the strands. Air is drawn by a fan through the collector and across 6 rows of inclined 508 µm Teflon strands. Cloud droplets are impacted upon the Teflon strands where they coalesce and, aided by aerodynamic drag, run down the strands and through a Teflon collection trough and Teflon tube into a collection bottle. CASCC2 has been used in numerous fog/cloud chemistry studies by research groups all over the world.

9.  The URG’s Annular Denuder System (University Research Glassware)

URG’s Annular Denuder System collects both acidic and basic gases for air quality characterization. The URG’s Annular Denuder System is currently being used in a wide range of research, industry and government studies. The URG annular denuder/filter pack assembly can be used to simultaneously collect Particles and trace gases for chemical analysis.

Equipment Available for Wind Energy

Computing Cluster: HP ProLiant ML370 G6

A computer cluster can provide many more CPUs but requires a multi-processing management system called MPI. With MPI, the CAMx modeling grid is divided into sub-regions that are processed on separate servers within a cluster and integrated by passing large data messages among the servers. CAMx with MPI allows for improved turn-around by reducing modeling run time from the current 2 hours per episode day for Houston.

Software Capabilities: 

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Structural Analysis software such as ANSYS, FLUENT, GAMBIT, MATLAB and other related software are available.

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