Yan Zhou working hard in the lab.
It was a project that aimed to develop effective algae bloom control strategies in reclaimed water that sparkled Yan's passion for algae. Assisting graduate student on this project as a junior student, Yan was deeply attracted by various fascinating ideas of utilizing algae as a bioenergy feedstock. When doing her undergraduate thesis which applied combined ozonation and biological treatment to petroleum contaminated soil, Yan decided to work on researches developing novel technologies to handle Energy VS Environment issue in the future. With this pursuit, after getting her bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from Tsinghua University, she joined Dr. Lance Schideman's research group in fall 2008, working on algae cultivation for the dual purpose of wastewater purification and algal bioenergy production.
High density Spirulina in flasks(TOP). Spirulina, an algae like bacteria, grow quickly. It has already been converted successfully into biocrude oil by the Bioenvironmental group in the Department of Agricultural and Biological engineering of UIUC. Spirulina under the microscope (BOTTOM).
Algae alternative fuel research utilizing Agricultural waste (TOP). From left to right: pig slurry, algae growing on pig slurry, centrifuged algal biomass, algal biocrude oil using pyrolysis. Weigh boats of algae samples being evaluated as a biomass feedstock to create a bio-oil that can used as an alternative fuel (BOTTOM). The top one: mixed species growing on pyrolysis post water (seed was collected from local wastewater treatment plant). The bottom: Chlorella sp.(left), Spirulina platensis(right). .