SDS2022 Ethan Glenn and a Bioeconomy for Producing Specialty Chemicals in a Biorefinery
Ethan Glenn discusses how his Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering senior design capstone team developed a plan for a biorefinery that will produce specialty chemicals with renewable feedstocks to reduce waste and carbon emissions.
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[00:00:00.240]We're back at the Senior Design Showcase.
[00:00:02.210]I'm with Ethan Glen, who is a chemical engineering major.
[00:00:06.270]Ethan, can you tell us about your team's project
[00:00:08.780]and why it's important to society?
[00:00:10.700]Yeah, so our project
[00:00:11.980]was the process of developing these special new chemicals
[00:00:15.850]that go into a bunch of different products
[00:00:18.603]including pharmaceuticals and polymers
[00:00:22.607]and solvents, being used as solvents.
[00:00:24.580]And our process was essentially
[00:00:25.890]a greener method than what's currently happening,
[00:00:29.640]where we use a second generation feed source
[00:00:33.280]in our case, corn (indistinct)
[00:00:34.970]to use as a sugar source for fermentation,
[00:00:38.471]which we then transfer over to a hydrogenation reaction
[00:00:42.850]where we process our chemicals
[00:00:44.396]and then ultimately separate them out
[00:00:46.330]into our desired polymers.
[00:00:48.119]And it's a more cost effective way
[00:00:51.159]of doing this?
[00:00:52.484]We found that economically,
[00:00:56.400]our process is definitely profitable in the long run,
[00:01:02.180]although it might not be as profitable
[00:01:03.940]as the processes that use petroleum,
[00:01:06.220]but overall the sustainability of our processes
[00:01:08.534]very much outweigh the economics.
[00:01:13.390]And senior design capstone projects are meant to encompass
[00:01:16.086]a lot of what you've learned in the college.
[00:01:19.510]Personally, what has been the most satisfying part
[00:01:22.650]of this process in this capstone project?
[00:01:25.240]Yeah, I think the most satisfying part
[00:01:27.210]for me particularly has just been this past couple of week
[00:01:30.760]of putting it all together, really.
[00:01:32.680]Seeing that we've gone through
[00:01:34.600]pretty much every step of the process,
[00:01:36.680]including the equipment, considering safety,
[00:01:40.050]actually getting the outputs that we want
[00:01:42.630]or that we're looking at.
[00:01:43.970]And then just overall seeing that this is a possible process
[00:01:47.770]that can hopefully be implemented in the future.
[00:01:50.550]And really just seeing that hopefully
[00:01:54.320]we could make a difference with this project.
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