A Photosynthetic Bio-reactor That Produces Bio-fuel From Carbon Dioxide

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Cyanobacteria have the ability to convert CO2 into bio-products, and also have a high photosynthetic efficiency (3 to 9%) compared to that of higher plants (?0.25 to 3%), and because they're amenable to genetic engineering, they were used in the last couple of years in direct bio-fuel production by photosynthesis studies; so I decided to investigate the use of cyanobacteria in photobioreactors to convert the CO2 into bio-fuel, to be used for both large and small scales.

Using homemade equipment I made a small photobioreactor that could be used as a car filter, where all the conditions were optimum for the cyanobacteria to grow and photosynthesize normally. I used the wild-type Synechococcus sp.7942 strain (to represent the mutated strain) because its mutated strain showed high isobutanol production in the experimental results of the previous research. I attached the bio-reactor to a vehicles exhaust pipe, as a small scale model. I also used yeast in the bio-reactor to check if the bio-fuel produced when the mutated strain is used will be successfully trapped and kept away from the cyanobacteria.

The results showed that the Synechococcus strain photosynthesized and grew normally in then bio-reactor, and the ethanol produced by the yeast was successfully trapped in another box and kept away from the yeast. In 2011 a similar device was made by using algae, and it was able to convert the CO2 produced into O2 and sugar, so I worked on enhancing that device, so that it produces bio-fuels instead of sugars.

I can conclude from these results that my hypotheses: "If we attempt to optimize the conditions (pH, nutrients, light, CO2 and temperature) in a bio-reactor for the photosynthetic cyanobacteria (Synechococcus 7942) to survive and photosynthesize normally, to be used on both large and small scales (car filters. and power stations); we will successfully be able to convert CO2 into biofuel and oxygen" have been successfully experimentally proven at a high confidence level. We are confident in the experimental validity of our results, because some of our experiments were already done before by other people and research institutes and showed the same results.

I also designed a bio-reactor for large-scale use, which is a large fermenter that contains a certain number of small bio-reactors provided with all the suitable conditions (temperature, light, pH, CO2, and movement "agitation") for the mutated cyanobacteria to photosynthesize normally. It is designed in a way that makes it easy to change the media and adjust all the conditions at anytime, if there is any problem.

We also think that this big bio-reactor could be used for the CO2 trapped in the underground rock formations, and convert it into bio-fuel.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Ossama Elsayed
  • Type of entry:
    individual
  • Profession:
    Student
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
    never
  • Patent status:
    pending