Through this lab exercise, the principle of mass conservation will be demonstrated using an adopted problem-solving methodology and a simple Matlab exercise.


• Matlab 2007 or higher

Lab Assignment

Problem Statement
Research is being done to utilize microbial cells found in common soil or the ocean floor to produce usable fuels, such as propane, from CO2 that has been sequestered from flue gases from power plants (a major source of CO2 emissions). The challenge here to make the process useful is to be able to produce large quantities of propane from these cells at a reasonable cost. In a first attempt to this, a company (GASBUGS INC.) attempts to mass produce propane by employing a simple continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR). GASBUGS INC. found that keeping the reactor at 25 oC provides conditions in the reactor where the rate of death and growth of cells are equal. On a molar basis, when CO2 (density = 0.00197 g/cm3) is bubbled into the reactor at a flow rate of 1680 L/hr., complete conversion to propane is achieved in 10% excess of water, and no bacteria are lost in the output flow stream.
It is your goal as the production engineering support specialist working for GASBUGS INC. to model this scenario to determine how much feed water is required in mol/hr. and what the daily output of propane is.
• Using MATLAB, create a plot that demonstrates/illustrates the impact on propane production as the CO2 gas flow rate is varied from 50% to 200% of the modeled flow rate.
(1) Is the concentration of the propane higher or lower in the reactor vessel or the product stream? Explain.
(2) What happens to propane production as CO2 flow rate is increased? Explain.

Write a brief technical lab report summarizing the technical facts learned from this lab. The report should be organized to provide the following:
1. Section 1–Introduction: An introductory/summary paragraph describing the type of conservation principle being analyzed and the key elements that will be discussed relating to this principle.
2. Section 2–Lab Results: Includes any diagrams, models, simulations, data summaries, and answers to lab questions.
3. Section 3–Discussion: A section describing the most important characteristics shown or demonstrated via the modeled and collected data. Also include a practical example of how the information learned in this project might help you in operating, troubleshooting, error analysis, or adjusting a system using fuel cells in your home setting, in your training program setting, or in a job setting in the real world.
4. Section 4–Concluding Remarks: A summary statement listing the most positive aspects of the lab and any parts of the lab that were difficult because of equipment problems or unclear instructions. Include areas that might be improved.