Facilities + Equipment
Through our affiliations with four independent research institutes at Ohio University, we have the unique benefit of combining resources for electrochemical engineering, advanced materials and energy research, air quality assessment and monitoring, and coal and biofuels analysis, as well as dedicated research and equipment for our independent multidisciplinary studies.
About Our Equipment
The Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment comprises two state-of-the-art research labs as well as four independent research centers, all housing scores of technical experts working toward a greener future. Armed with tools like the $1.4 million transmission electron microscope at the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research and an algae bioreactor, our researchers uncover new ways to fuel the future and create for good.
The Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment has a suite of bioreactor systems, raceways, and incubation tanks to process significant amounts of freshwater and saltwater algal biomass including a 20-cubic-foot incubator with light and temperature control, two vertical membrane bioreactor systems, one 40-liter slurry phase reactor, and 6,000 liters of culturing and primitive growth tanks and ponds.
About Our Facilities
The Institute’s three independent research centers, the Center for Air Quality, the Ohio Coal Research Center, and the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research, operate facilities in various locations on campus. The institute also operates two lab facilities - on campus at the Biofuels Research Lab created by Ben Stuart, and across town at the Sustainable Energy and Alternative Materials (SEAM) lab run by Eminent Scholar Sunggyu “K.B.” Lee, a pioneer in clean coal, syngas, and supercritical fluids research.
Biofuels Research Laboratory
Established in 2006 as part of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment, the Biofuels Research Laboratory explores advances in feedstock production and energy conversion to support the development of biomass as an energy resource.
Biofuels, which are created from plants and renewable sources, are an alternative to fossil-fuels that present fewer undesirable consequences for our environmental resources. Although corn and soy are well-known biofuel sources, our research center is developing fuels and energy systems based on microalgae, which can be grown faster and more efficiently than any other plant. We are studying not only the technology to increase the fuel value oil fraction of algae in multiple stage reactors, but also the cultivation and processing of algae for oil extraction or other processing, such as gasification and Fischer-Tropsch reforming, to produce a variety of transportation fuels, including synthetic gasoline, diesel, and aviation (jet) fuel.
Additional biofuels studies involve recycling waste grease from the food-service industry and the use of virgin crops such as sunflowers as a source of biodiesel.
Led by internationally renowned Sunggyu K.B. Lee, a pioneer in alternative fuels, supercritical fluids, and polymer processing, the Sustainable Energy and Alternative Materials (SEAM) lab arrived at the Russ College via seven 17-foot semi-trailers. Russ-Ohio Research Scholar in Coal Syngas Utilization and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering K.B. Lee conducts studies with the involvement of visiting scholars, graduate and undergraduate students, and research associates developing clean coal technology, biodegradable plastics, and other applications for chemical process engineering.
ISEE Analytical Lab
Our broad analytical capabilities at our facilities range from basic tools such as pH meters, turbidimeters, and fluorometers, to complex analytical devices that analyze gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, total organic carbon, trace metals, proteins, carbohydrates, and more. All of our analytical equipment is housed in our research facilities at the West State Street Research Complex and in our Stocker Center laboratories.
The Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment operates a 1,200-square-foot greenhouse facility dedicated to growing biofuel materials like algal biomass. Inside the greenhouse, two custom-made 1,200-gallon raceway bioreactors cultivate the biomass in a temperature-, light-, and pH-controlled environment.