Senior R&D Laboratory Support Technologist

Eric-Monroe.JPG

 

Eric Monroe's research interests have a wide scope but tend to focus on R&D with direct impacts on the food/energy/water nexus. Specifically, his research focuses on whole-systems approaches to biofuel and bioproduct technologies with an emphasis on algae cultivation and conversion. Algae biomass has the unique ability to have a sustainable role in each area of the food/energy/water web and his work looks to develop and leverage technologies to help algae have a large industrial impact as quickly as possible and to make the bioeconomy of the future a reality.

 

Education

Bachelor of Science in Biosystems Engineering, Clemson University (2012- 2016)

Monroe's work at Clemson University focused on developing sustainable systems in energy and agriculture. This included research in microbial fuel cells, advanced composting strategies, rural agricultural systems, and biodiesel technologies. This work included three years working and traveling with Engineers Without Borders to design and implement new sustainable agricultural systems and practices on a 20-acre women’s farm in The Gambia in western Africa. His capstone design project was the retrofitting of the old campus biodiesel demonstration unit to incorporate the latest process improvements published in literature.

Research Interests

High Performace Biofuels

Monroe works to develop new biofuel products that harmonize with new engine architectures and combustion strategies to maximize engine performance and efficiency while minimizing emissions. This includes investigating many promising fuel products for their in-engine performance and for their infrastructure and market compatibility. This also includes evaluating biochemical or thermochemical paths for large-scale production of the most promising fuel candidates as well as collaborations on Techno-economic analyses (TEAs) and Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for these processes.

Algae Cultivation

Hand holding algae in pond

Benthic Turf Algae – Monroe is interested is evaluating algae turf biomass as a feedstock for large-scale biofuel or bioproduct production, while simultaneously treating contaminated water sources. Utilizing systems like the trademarked Algae Turf Scrubber (ATS), filamentous periphyton cultures can be cultivated on a flow-way instead of atraditional raceway to utilize pollutant nutrients including dilute streams such as rich agricultural runoff water. He works to improve the productivity and efficiency of these systems to bring capital and operational costs down as well as helps to develop conversion strategies to turn the collected biomass to valuable fuels and products.

 

Suspended microalgae – Monroe also supports research on more traditional algae raceway systems. This work focuses on unique microalgae or cyanobacteria consortia targeting stable and crash resistant cultures as well as improvements in productivity and lowering of energy and cost inputs.

Bioconversion & Advanced Fermentation Strategies

Monroe supports work to develop bioconversion processes with the goal of utilizing all major biochemical components of algal biomass. This includes protein fermentations, carbohydrate fermentations, and lipid extractions/upgrading in closed loop systems for maximum bioproduct/biofuel production with minimal process inputs and unit operations.