Paradigm shift to sustainable systems

Dr. Lakhveer proposes to reduce the cost of bioreactors

Reputed publishing house Elsevier has published the illuminating research work of Dr. Lakhveer Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science. The book named Bioreactors: Sustainable Design and Industrial Applications in Mitigation of GHG Emissions (1st Edition), is co-edited by Durga Mahapatra, Oregon State University, USA, Scientist and Dr Abu Yousuf, Assistant Professor, Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh.

Dawn of the 21st century has witnessed a solemn crisis in petroleum-derived fuels, consequently causing a major setback in chemicals/bio-products industries. Also, the researchers identify that the problem of climate change needs to be addressed by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Dr. Lakhveer states, “To cope up with soaring energy demands, the present generation requires a paradigm shift from fossil-based resources to renewables and sustainable systems which accentuates the necessity of bioreactors for employing bioenergy and bio-products recovery”.

Presently, sophisticated bioreactor technologies have resulted in towering industrial production significantly contributing to the global economy and benefiting human life. Bioreactors have a substantial role in building a sustainable economy and providing food, feed, energy and other basic amenities for a quality life. Numerous bioreactors have evolved over time through sustainable research targeting commercialization.

A bioreactor is a vessel-like device that provides a uniform background for microorganisms to grow. It maintains an uninterrupted balance in the biochemical reactions carried out by these microorganisms to produce the desired metabolites. The applications of bioreactors extend to biomass production such as microalgae, single-cell protein, and yeast. For metabolite formation like organic acids, ethanol, antibiotics, aromatic compounds, and pigments, bioreactors are absolute. It also contributes to transforming substrates like steroids along with supplementing to production of both the intra and extracellular enzymes.

Recently, Dr Singh has developed an innovative cost-effective hybrid bioelectrochemical reactor (15.0 L) in collaboration with Oregon State University, USA, capable of generating efficient hydrogen at a cost less than $2/kg of H2 from lignocellulose hydrolysates or wastewater.

“In our research we have developed numerous types of bioreactors ranging in size from 5.0 to 100 L. A few examples are immobilized up-flow bioreactor, two-stage thermophilic and mesophilic fermenter, sequential dark and photobioreactor as well as hybrid bioelectrochemical reactor for bioenergy production and valuable products recovery from various industrial and agriculture waste. “ informs Dr. Lakhveer.

The book “Bioreactors” presents and compares the foundational concepts, state-of-the-art design and fabrication of bioreactors. Solidly based on theoretical fundamentals, it examines various aspects of the commercially available bioreactors, that includes construction, fabrication, design, modeling, simulation, development, operation, maintenance, management, and target applications for biofuels production as well as bio-waste management. Emerging issues in commercial feasibility are explored in the book along with covering the constraints and pathways for upscaling. It also carries out rigorous techno-economic assessment.

“This book provides researchers and engineers in the biofuels and waste management sectors a clear understanding of the actual potential of various advanced bioreactors for their requirements. It allows them to embark on informed decisions while selecting the appropriate technology models for sustainable systems development and commercialization”, says Dr. Lakhveer.

Advancing his work, Dr Singh is developing efficient and economical bioreactors for commercial applications in the energy and water sectors. In this regard, three international patents have been filed. In the next few months, two more of his books are to be published by American Chemical Society, ACS and Elsevier. The books will emphasize issues and frontiers of reactors technology such as operation, novel design, cost analysis, novel electrodes, nano catalytic materials and other extended applications of bioreactors.

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