Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type



Interest in biofuels research has increased in the era of uncertainty of the current fossil fuel sustainability and global climate concerns. Microalgae offer advantages over terrestrial plants as a potential source of biomass-based fuel. In this study, a Louisiana native microalgae/cyanobacteria (Chlorella vulgaris/Leptolyngbya sp.) co-culture was examined to provide foundational information of its growth conditions. Batch studies were conducted to determine optimum nitrogen and irradiance level that yields maximum co-culture biomass growth and productivity under aerated and non-aerated conditions. The optimum nitrogen level was 2.94 mM N and the optimum initial scalar irradiance range was between 400 – 800 µmol m-2 s-1 with continuous CO2-enriched aeration 2% v/v. Batch studies of the co-culture growth in heterotrophic and mixotrophic growth regime was also conducted with the addition of dextrose and sodium acetate. Louisiana native co-culture was capable of heterotrophic and mixotrophic growth, with maximum biomass concentration and neutral lipid production (2,113 g m-3 and 24.1 g m-3 d-1 respectively) achieved with the addition of 2,120 g m-3 sodium acetate which corresponds to C:N mass ratio of 15:1 under mixotrophic condition with N= 2.94 mM = 41.16 g m-3. The study of the Louisiana native co-culture continuous production in Hydraulically Integrated Serial Turbidostat Reactor (HISTAR) system was also conducted. The HISTAR system demonstrated the ability to maintain growth of Louisiana native co-culture.



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Committee Chair

Gutierrez-Wing, Maria T.