|The Applied Research Center (ARC) has responded
to the global shift toward increased energy security and
climate protection by building the infrastructure and acquiring
the talent necessary to lead the development and commercialization
of renewable energy and biofuels. The Center spearheads
technology development in biomass conversion to fuels and
power, algal fuels, and deployment of renewable energy
systems. ARC is a national leader in biofuels
systems engineering and integration leading to technology
scale-up and commercialization. Capabilities
Energy security and sustainability is essential and can be achieved through fuel diversification. The United States consumes over 140 billion gallons of gasoline annually. Although there is no “silver bullet”, biofuels can play a key role in such an effort. ARC has over 19 years of expertise in 1st and 2nd generation ethanol production from sustainable resources, such as sugarcane and cellulosic biomass. Sugarcane ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by over 80% compared to gasoline and yields renewable energy equal to almost 9 times the fossil energy consumed for its production on a life-cycle basis. Cellulosic ethanol is projected to have similar sustainable features, as it is produced from agricultural, forestry, and yard residues without the need for additional land. In partnership with the private and public sectors, ARC pursues various technologies for conversion of biomass
Fuel diversification is needed for diesel engines. The United States consumes over 60 billion gallons of diesel annually. ARC has both technical and business expertise in biodiesel production and use. Due to sustainability concerns, we focus on biodiesel from non-edible resources, such as jatropha oil and waste vegetable oils. A pilot facility is available for scaling up the transesterification process that converts oils to biodiesel. The Center collaborates with private companies in production, distribution, and marketing aspects of the biodiesel business.
Algae represent a promising source of alternative fuels and a sink for carbon dioxide. Using our experience in algae technology development for the production of chemicals and fuels, we use native Floridian algae strains and FIU’s facilities for the characterization, manipulation, cultivation, harvesting, and processing of algae. Algal lipids can be transesterified to produce biodiesel and recover by-products or can be subjected to thermal processing for upgrade to aviation- and military-specification fuels. The Center’s engineering expertise addresses critical challenges in algal fuels, such as optimization of lipid productivity, energy-efficient extraction of lipids, recycling of water and chemicals, indoor and outdoor bioreactor
Biomass is an abundant and inexpensive domestic feedstock for power generation and biofuels or alternative fuels production. Florida ranks first in the country in annual biomass production: sugarcane bagasse and yard waste in South Florida, citrus peel and agricultural residues in Central Florida, and woody residues in Northern Florida. ARC engineers assess the potential of various biomass species to generate biofuels, hydrogen, and power via gasification using a 5-kW downdraft gasifier equipped with gas filters and heat recovery capabilities.
Renewable Energy Systems in the Americas
Using its systems engineering experience and renewable energy expertise, the ARC integrates, tests, validates, and deploys off-the-shelf renewable energy and water purification systems. Such systems are vital for off-grid applications and first response to natural disasters and emergency situations. Solar, wind, small-scale hydro, and biomass-to-power systems have been deployed in various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, where ARC engineers train local staff in the operation and maintenance of the units. FIU’s in-depth understanding of Latin America and strong relationships with Latin American institutions facilitate interactions and collaborations with agencies, companies, and academia throughout the Americas.
Workshops, Training, and Outreach in Alternative
The Global Energy Security Forum, a collaborative effort of FIU’s ARC, School of Business, and School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), organizes and delivers workshops, conferences, training courses, and outreach programs in alternative energy and fuels. Events in the last two years have focused on energy outlook, integration of alternative energy and fuels in the existing infrastructure, biofuels, hybrid and flex fuel vehicles, energy security, energy cooperation in the Americas, US-EU partnerships, and the development of a low-carbon economy. The events cover all aspects of the energy market: policy, regulatory, technical, financing, and distribution issues.
For more information about the Forum: http://international.fiu.edu/index.php?name=about_global_energy_security_forum
ARC Energy Facilities