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Bethann Parmelee '12

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Biodiesel from Algae Production

Under the mentorship of Professor Susan Powers and Michael Twiss, junior Bethann Parmelee, an environmental engineering major, looked into the sustainable production of biodiesel from algae grown at the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) Solid Waste Management Facility.

Currently, the DANC facility lacks the quantity of water necessary to grow algae naturally. Parmelee attempted to use two waste products, heat from an industrial process at the facility and leachate, the liquid collected from a landfill (to replace the water), to produce the algae.

"Using these two types of wastes does a few things.  First, it utilizes a product otherwise destined for disposal. Second, it uses energy already being produced at the facility," explains Parmelee. "Third, it creates a fuel source that will help decrease the facility's dependence on petroleum, ultimately saving the facility money."

After her research experiences at Clarkson, Parmelee has decided to attend graduate school for sustainability and industrial ecology in the future.

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Bethann Parmelee