SAMIR KUMAR KHANAL
Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, University of Hawai’i at Manoa (UHM)
Cooperating Faculty, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UHM
Faculty Affiliate, Renewable Energy and Island Sustainability, UHM
Collaborating Professor, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
“I was always curious about things since my childhood. I wondered how a pilot was able to fly such a tiny plane far up in the sky; how I was born and many other.... Not to mention, I damaged my very first new watch to look inside; I dismantled my bicycle to reassemble; l damaged almost every new stuffs my dad bought with his meager income as a soldier. Perhaps such intuitions were the early indications of my inclination towards science and engineering. I enjoyed doing experiments since my school days even though we did not have any resources.
And fast forward… here I am today… where research has become part of my daily life… to make the world a slightly better place…."
Anaerobic digestion (AD) has been in use for many decades for treating organic wastes, mainly manures and wastewater sludge, and industrial wastewater. With the current advancements, a more open mind is required to look beyond these somewhat restricted original applications of AD. Biorefineries are such concepts, where multiple products including chemicals, fuels, polymers etc. are produced from organic feedstocks. Our researches on AD expand to process control, bioenergetics, hydrogen sulfide removal and hydrogenotrophic methanogens for biogas upgrading in AD processes.
We produce large-scale edible fungus, Rhizopus oligosporus, on a liquid residue from sugar-to-ethanol production, vinasse. The fungal biomass contained 50% crude protein and the essential amino acids contents were comparable to commercial protein sources for aquatic feeds (fishmeal and soybean meal).
In recent years, aquaponic systems have gained significant popularity as soilless agriculture systems for organic fruits and vegetables production with concomitant remediation of aquaculture effluent. Aquaponics is a potential sustainable food production system that integrates aquaculture with hydroponics in which nitrogen-rich effluent from the fish production is utilized for plant growth.