Technology

The laboratories are organized into five core facilities and labs, including chemical analytical facility; microbiology and molecular biology facility; process laboratory; photobioenergy research laboratory; and microbial electrochemistry laboratory.

Chemical analytical facility

The chemical analytical facility supports routinely used analyses.

Key equipment includes:

  • Trace analytical (now Ametek) reduction gas analyzer
  • Shimadzu prominence high-performance liquid chromatograph with diode array and refractive index detectors.
  • Waters ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatograph with diode array and ELSD detectors.
  • Shimadzu gas chromatograph GC 2010 equipped with FID, ECD and TCD detectors.
  • Shimadzu QP2010 quadrupole GCMS.
  • Shimadzu total organic carbon analyzer with solids module.
  • Agilent UV/Vis spectrophotometers.

The laboratories also are well-equipped for standard wet-chemistry analyses as well as high-purity water systems.

Microbiology and molecular biology facility

The microbiology and molecular biology facility are fully equipped to carry out research on classical microbiology and molecular microbial ecology.

Of particular importance are the following pieces of equipment and specialized facilities:

  • Coy anaerobic glove boxes.
  • Anaerobic gassing station.
  • Confocal laser scanning microscope.
  • Olympus research-grade light and fluorescence microscopes.
  • Standard and DGGE electrophoresis systems.
  • Applied Biosystems Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction thermocyclers.
  • Eppendorf quantitative real-time PCR thermocyclers.
  • Biorad Experion automated electrophoresis system.
  • Biorad molecular imager gel doc system, incubators, freezers, refrigerators and an ultracentrifuge.

Process laboratory

The process laboratory is a custom-designed research space that maximizes flexibility for supporting the wide range of bench-scale reactor systems used in center research. Flexibility is obtained with three “islands” that have electrical, internet, water and gas utilities running overhead, while the space below is designed and constructed to support a range of reactor systems that will change over time. The process laboratory contains several membrane biofilm reactors, methanogenic reactors, bio-hydrogen reactors and photobiocatalysis reactors.

Photobioenergy research laboratory

The center also operates an approximately 1,000-square-foot photobioenergy research laboratory in the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 5 and its outdoor photobioreactor facility on the roof of the Engineering Research Center.

The indoor laboratory has capacity for

  • Large-scale culturing of phototrophs in carboys.
  • 16-L benchtop photobioreactors.
  • 350-mL benchtop photobioreactor.
  • Capacity for numerous flask.
  • Plate cultures.
  • Ability to extract and analyze lipids.

The rooftop facility includes four 75-L single-tube photobioreactors and a large photobioreactor system having 2,100 L exposed to the sunlight. All outdoor systems are temperature controlled, have controlled CO2-gas delivery and capacity for harvesting either biomass or free fatty acids.

Microbial electrochemistry laboratory

The microbial electrochemistry laboratory is equipped to perform experiments for fundamental and applied studies on several microbial electrochemical technologies.

The laboratory includes

  • Bio-Logic 16-channel VMP3 potentiostats.
  • Bio-Logic 5-channel VSP potentiostat with EIS capability.
  • Ivium Compactstat portable potentiostat.
  • 30 deg C incubated room.
  • Various incubators for mesophilic and thermophilic culturing.
  • Different types of microbial electrochemical cell setups ranging from H-type cells to larger flat-plate type reactors.
  • Rotating ring disk electrode setup.
  • Tube furnace.
  • Multi-position magnetic stirrers.
  • Peristaltic pumps.