Thaddaeus Webster

Algae and Carbon Dioxide: An Amazing Combination to Create Biodiesel

Thaddaeus Webster

"I began doing research with the UNH Biodiesel Group in the fall of 2007 as an INCO 590 student," says Thad. "With the price of gas and diesel nowadays, alternative ways of powering our society need to be looked at. After hearing about the benefit of biodiesel in Professor Ihab Farag's Energy and the Environment class, I really wanted to get involved in biodiesel research and production."

So with a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Thad set out to study the effects of carbon dioxide and salt water on the growth and oil production of different algae species. "While the emphasis of this research began looking at the effects of carbon dioxide on algae growth and oil production, other key factors such as light intensity and growth medium were also investigated," Thad explains. He presented his research at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meeting, and plans to present again at UNH's Undergraduate Research Conference in April 2009.

"My SURF experience, funded by a gift of the UNH 1959 class, has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had at UNH to date," says Thad. "It allowed me to not only learn many techniques that go into research projects, but it also allowed me to perform research in a field that I am greatly interested in, which in turn made the research that much better. I would like to thank the 1959 class for providing me with this wonderful opportunity."

Professor Farag extends the same thanks: "I would like to thank the Class of 1959 for their generosity in affording Thad the opportunity to apply what he learned in class and to realize his research talents... Thad did an excellent job on his SURF project."

Thad will continue research with the UNH Biodiesel Group, focusing on harvesting the oil from algae and finding better ways to grow the algae.