Scholar: Sarah Carl
Major: Chemical Engineering (Energy Process Emphasis)
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Hongfei Lin
Research Topic: Characterizing Opuntia and Agave as a Possible Alternative Energy Resource
Abstract: With the depletion of fossil fuels and related petrochemicals, renewable resources such as cellulosic biomass and biomass-derived chemicals are expected to increase in the future; however, nowadays most biomass we use is competing with foods production area. There is growing interest in new sources of feedstock for biofuels and chemicals that can be cultivated without competing for key resources, such as land and water, with food crops. Agave and opuntia plants are possible feedstock for biofuels and chemicals because they are grown largely for fiber and alcoholic beverage production in the North American continent and have high sugar and cellulose content that is suitable for biofuel and chemical production. Also, because they are highly resistant to drought and can use water efficiently, they can be grown on marginal lands with arid conditions. To determine the viability for these plants as a possible alterative energy source for the production of gasoline with the use of catalysts in a one-pot process, opuntia and agave are characterized to understand the composition of these plants.
New Scholar: 2013 cohort
Graduating With Baccalaureate Degree: Spring 2014