Master of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering (MSBAE)


Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Document Type



ABSTRACT Sustainable and renewable biofuels as well as coastal preservation are important to the State of Louisiana which is losing its coastline at the rate of up to 100 square kilometers per year. This has important implications for other coastal areas worldwide. By managing water hyacinth in canals and lakes in coastal Louisiana the biomass of this fast growing aquatic plant can reduce coastal erosion by absorbing wave energy, and remediate waste water through bioabsorption of contaminants, while also providing a source of biofuel. This research has shown that coastal vegetation can play a part in lessening the impact of storms by reducing wave energy up to14%. Floating booms can hold water hyacinth in place along coastal canals so that it can be contained for growth and harvesting while providing this protection. Under average growing conditions in Louisiana, water hyacinth produced 2.4 to 2.6 metric tons of hydrated biomass per hectare per day. In addition this research found that this plant has a fermentable glucose and xylose content in excess of 48% by dry weight which is suitable for bioethanol production. Its rapid growth rate combined with its fermentable sugar concentration makes water hyacinth a viable candidate for use as a source of biofuel and for coastal preservation. Engineered barges fitted with loading mechanisms and harvesting systems were designed to contain and harvest water hyacinth in Louisiana’s coastal canals and to produce biofuel from harvested water hyacinth. Harvesting and growth site accessibility and design for transportation and proximity to coastal ethanol production facilities was integral to the design. Carbon neutral fuels are an important consideration related to environmental sustainability concerns. As the State of Louisiana is losing coastal wetlands the combination of erosion control with biofuel production will be a great benefit to the state and other coastal areas of the world.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Hall, Steven G.



Included in

Engineering Commons