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The research group have been working with native microalgal consortium from the wastewater ponds of NIT Rourkela. The work is mainly based on optimization of the bioprocess principles related to microalgal cultivation for deriving various bioproducts. The research team have formulated biophysical mathematical model based on the site-specific geospatial coordinates of NIT Rourkela which was thereby integrated with the biokinetic and physiochemical parameters for algal cultivation in open ponds to project the realistic algal productivity. This work has also been extrapolated over different locations of Odisha and India. The study has also been extended to predict algal carbon sequestration capacity at a coal based power plant and techno-economic assessment has been done predicting the revenues to be earned by the company as carbon credits. This work was featured and recognized in STEAMINDIA reports. Native algal consortium mainly composed of Chlorella sp., was obtained from the wastewater ponds of NIT Rourkela and have been acclimatized to grow in diluted human urine. Operational factors were optimized using Response Surface Methodology (RSM) to maximize the biomass and lipid productivity. Quality of lipids and biodiesel obtained with urine grown microalgae was comparable with that grown in the commercial BG11 medium. Cost efficient harvesting of algal biomass using natural flocculants (mentioned in the article “Science Last Fortnight” by Current Science) and transesterification of algal oil with sulfonated peanut shell biochar as heterogeneous catalyst are also being investigated, to facilitate cost-effective commercialization of microalgal technology. The biofertilizing potential of microalgal consortium in hydroponic systems and also as seed primer and foliar spray agent over the growth of tomato plant, establishing its efficacy as plant growth promoter is also investigated. The team have been also working with the use of organic solvents for extracting algal pigments (Chl a, Chl b, Carotenoids and Astaxanthin) under the concept of algal biorefinery.

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