Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program



Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

La Motta, Enrique

Second Advisor

Rincon, Guillermo

Third Advisor

McCorquodale, John


Research using microalgae Chlorella vulgaris was conducted in order to determine the maximum CO2 concentration under which algae can grow, within the emission range from oil and natural gas burning plants (0-20%).

After choosing the optimal CO2 percentage, pH and alkalinity were determined; and finally, an electrochemical (EC) batch reactor connected to DC current was applied to achieve algae cell annihilation, and therefore, facilitate anaerobic digestion, methane production and energy recovery.

It was determined that algae can grow under 20% CO2, being 15% CO2 the most effective (pH of 6.64 and alkalinity of 617.5 mg/L CaCO3).

Electroporation using an electrochemical batch reactor is effective in breaking cells membranes, which simplifies anaerobic digestion process and methane production.

The parameters found effective for completely breaking the algae cell are: detention time of 1 more or less 0.5 minutes, and minimum voltage and current of 65 Volts/285 ml and 3.9 Amps/285 ml, respectively


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