The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, for its acronym in Spanish) developed automatic controls to optimize the bioreactors, which use microorganisms to degrade wastewater and other waste in order to produce biofuels and plastics.
The researcher of the Engineering Institute in Juriquilla, Alejandro Vargas Casillas, said in a statement that the automatic control is a software based on a mathematical model to analyze the properties of the process and predict how it will behave.
The objective is to quantify and manipulate some variables to manage a proper behavior and thus establish the process to obtain biofuel produced from wastewater.
Then, “optimize some variables such as the production of hydrogen from the substrate,” he added.
Vargas Casillas explained that the scientists from the Research Laboratory in Advanced Water Treatment Processes also work with the organic fraction of food, which is separated and ground into a liquid, with which hydrogen and methane are produced.
Using this liquid, the researchers obtain polymers and biodegradable plastics.
Therefore, the controller’s purpose is to keep certain operating conditions so that the greatest amount of polymers are generated and accumulated by the microorganisms.
So far, he said, the results are satisfactory, “it is being tested in the laboratory, from the experimental scale to the pilot and industrial plant.”