Category Archives: Undergraduate Research In-Progress

Use of waste plastics to create building materials

Description: Investigate economic viability of designing waste plastics to building materials conversion process for implementation in Las Cruces. Completion Objectives: Meet with Mr. Valdez to learn his plans to build a business based on waste plastics converted to building materials to be used to build homes for the poor and homeless. Perform and document a…
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Analysis of Fermented Beverages and Barrel-Aged Flavors in Beer

Description: Quality control and quality assurance in brewing require the regular characterization and monitoring of starting ingredients, intermediate products (wort), and finished beers. The Anton Parr Packaged Beer Analyzer allows the sequential measurement of density, ethanol content, carbon dioxide concentration, and oxygen concentration. Even with the measurement technology, protocols are still needed to ensure consistent…
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Effect of Different Sugars on SCOBY Fermentation Products

Description: Synergistic consortium of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) fermentations are used to make a variety of fermented beverages (kombucha, jun). The fermentation products contain different levels of ethanol, residual sugars, and organic acids (acetic, lactic, gallic, etc.) depending on the SCOBY culture, base media (tea), type and amount of fermentable carbohydrates, and fermentation conditions. The…
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Effect of Different Sugars on SCOBY Fermentation Products

Description: Synergistic consortium of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) fermentations are used to make a variety of fermented beverages (kombucha, jun). The fermentation products contain different levels of ethanol, residual sugars, and organic acids (acetic, lactic, gallic, etc.) depending on the SCOBY culture, base media (tea), type and amount of fermentable carbohydrates, and fermentation conditions. The…
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Valorization of polymer waste

Description: Polymer wastes such as waste plastics and waste tires are detrimental to our environment. The amount of plastics produced, used, and disposed has grown exponentially over the past 60 years. Only 9% are recycled. At the same time around 1.5 billion scrap tires make their way into the environmental cycle each year. So there…
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Characterization and Pelletization of Humulus lupulus neomexicanus Hops

Description: New Mexico’s hop industry is small (8 farms, 20 acres in 2019) but growing to provide local and specialty hops to New Mexico’s craft brewers. One specific opportunity in New Mexico is the production of Humulus lupulus neomexicanus hops, a subspecies of hops native to the region possessing unique essential oil and bitter acid…
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Comparison of Hops and Hemp for Value-Added Agriculture in New Mexico

Description: Hops (Humulus lupulus) and hemp (Cannabis sativa) are both members of the family Cannabaceae, flowering plants often used for their secondary metabolites, especially terpenes. Both have potential to be economically important in New Mexico, in particular the development of new and unique varieties of hops for brewing, and for production of fiber, oils, seed…
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Analysis and Pelletization Methods in Support of New Mexico Hop Growers

Description: New Mexico’s hop industry is only a few years old but is growing to provide local and specialty hops to New Mexico’s craft brewers. To be marketable and to manage their own hop quality, hop growers need to characterize their hops for alpha/beta acid content, essential oil content, and hop storage index (HIS), a…
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Processing OFFW Co-Producing Bioenergy and Nutrients

Description: About 40% of the food that is used for human consumption is wasted. As per the 2012 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency statistics, ~15% of the 251 million tons of municipality solid waste was the food waste stream. While the conventional management (example, land-filling) of solid waste and particularly, food waste is not economically viable…
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Reaction Condition Optimization and Product Characterization for Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae and Food Waste

Description: Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) converts wet biomass at high temperatures and high pressures into a solid char, an oil-phase liquid, an aqueous phase liquid, and non-condensable gases. The different phases provide opportunities for recovery of energy and materials from wastes. In this project, HTL is used to recover energy (in the form of bio-crude oil)…
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