Concentration of Methane Gas by Biodigestion of Cladophora
Stacy Isferding, Alyssa Dreger (Dr. Kevin Crawford)
Biodigestion is a mechanism that helps convert organic wastes into fuel. Cladophora, a decaying green algae, is found in excess in the bottoms of the Great Lakes, particularly the Lake Michigan shoreline. This algae has been found on the beaches causing undesired effects such as foul odors and aesthetic problems, limiting the recreational use of these lakes. Cladophora can cause a threat to human health and greatly impacts the aesthetics of the beach; however when it is placed in a biodigester usable methane gas is produced. This methane gas could be used as fuel to power machinery and generate electricity. We demonstrated the ability of a biodigester to produce methane from a cladophora source. This process was executed by combining cladophora with a nutrient mixture and a seed culture of bacteria in an anaerobic digester vessel. The methane gas was collected in bags from the digester and measured daily using a GCMS.