The main goal of the Environmental Biotechnology Lab is to develop new technologies and processes to recover resources (e.g., energy, nutrients, metals, etc.) from waste and wastewater.

Current projects include:

  1. Biocathode Archaea-Bacteria Interactions – We aim to improve understanding of how anode-respiring bacteria influence the methane production of archaea in a biocathode. In particular, we will examine carbon and electron transport between the two domains. This project is supported by a NSF CAREER grant. Project Log-In. Student(s): Tyler Myers
  2. Biocathode Electron Transfer – We aim to improve understanding of how biocathode microbes, including methanogens, receive electrons from a cathode. Student(s): Tyler Myers
  3. Genetic Engineering Tools for Archaea – We aim to describe, improve, and apply genetic engineering and synthetic biology tools to archaea. Student(s): Tyler Myers
  4. Iron Effects on Biocathodes – Adding zero valent iron to a biocathode can improve methane production beyond the improvement expected from the production of hydrogen during iron anaerobic corrosion. We aim to identify other potential effects of iron on bioelectrochemical system performance, microbial community and gene expression, and investigate the production of a redox-active precipitate. Student(s): Jerika Calderon, Gio Hester, Christopher Oyuela, Harlowe Steele
  5. Bioelectrochemical System (BES) Modeling – Current models lack several important BES processes and few integrated bioanode-biocathode models exist. We aim to develop a MATLAB-based model that can be used to predict BES performance. Student(s): Tyler Myers, Mark Anthony Relon, Gio Hester
  6. Nutrient Recovery BES-SPC – We aim to develop and test a novel BES for combined wastewater treatment, energy recovery, and nutrient recovery in the form of struvite, a slow-release fertilizer. Student(s): Haocheng Chen, Isabella Bush, Tommie Post
  7. Desalination BES – We aim to develop and test a novel BES for combined wastewater treatment, energy recovery, and desalination. This project has resulted in a provisional patent. Student(s): Tyler Myers
  8. Hydrogen Sulfide Removal in a BES – The objective of this research is to develop a system that scrubs hydrogen sulfide from gas and biogas sources using electrochemically-promoted precipitation with simultaneous energy recovery in the form of hydrogen gas, H2. Student(s): Open
  9. Seaweed Supplementation and Manure Management – The goal of this project is to determine the impact of ruminant seaweed supplementation on downstream methane production from manure management systems. Student(s): Tommie Post
  10. Anaerobic Electrified Membrane Bioreactor – We aim to develop and test an anaerobic electrified membrane bioreactor (AnEMBR) for decentralized wastewater reuse. Student(s): Nicholas Constantino
  11. Rare Earth Element Recovery from Mining Tailings – We aim to develop, test, and pilot a biofilter for microbial-based rare earth element (REE) recovery from mining wastewater. Student(s): Open
  12. Anaerobic Biodegradation of an Algae-Based Polyurethane – We aim to test an algae-based polyurethane for biodegradation under anaerobic digestion and landfill conditions. Student(s): Open

If you are interested in working on one of these projects, or if you have a related project idea of your own, please contact Dr. Dykstra to set up a time to meet and discuss the possibility of working on these exciting new projects.