Total 14Articles
News list
Content Forum List
2016-12 18 Important News

[Academics]Improving the Bioavailability of Fruit Wastes

Professor Jeon Byong-hun of the Department of Earth Resources and Environmental Engineering has been studying and experimenting with the objective of increasing the bioavailability of food wastes through the process of biomass pretreatment, which is a part of the process of biofuel production. Specifically centralizing on the energy recovery of fruit peels and wastes, Jeon has successfully managed to increase the rate in which he derived the energy recovery from micro-algae to 46%. Considering that the record of deriving energy recovery from any types of biomass was 41%, he regards this result as a significant progress in increasing the bioavailability of biomass. Biomass and pretreatment Humans can take in food freely and absorb the nutrients through digestion, but microorganisms have a different means of doing so. Microorganisms must utilize organic matters and generate energy from them, which corresponds to the process of producing biofuel. In an aqueous solution, microorganisms make contact with organic matters and drag them inwards, meaning that the finer and more dispersed the organic matters are, the easier and more efficient a microorganism can derive energy from them. This gives rise to the concept of bioavailability, which plays an influential role in determining how much biofuel can be converted from organic matter to energy recovery. In other words, the form in which the organic matter is structured determines the bioavailability. In this context, the pretreatment of biomass can be a decisive step. Jeon explains that pretreatment of biomass plays a significant role. The form previously mentioned does not only come in the size of the organic matter but also in the type of the biomass. The three big categories of usable biomass are carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. “Consider this example. When trying to formulate alcohol, which comes from carbohydrates, it would be optimal if the carbohydrate is uncombined with any other biomasses. If it is, then the microorganism will have less convenience in deriving energy from it- thus, decreasing bioavailability. It is only when the biomass is in the desired form that the microorganism will convert the most energy from the organic matter,” explained Jeon. Jeon and his laboratory researchers have been ultimately seeking to turn a variety of different biomass into various forms of bioenergy. “Making use of biomass such as fruit wastes, micro-algae, and food rubbish to extract the maximum amount of bioenergy in forms of bio-gas, bio-alcohol, and biodiesel has been our goal,” remarked Jeon. In a broader sense, his research includes turning the three big categories of biomass—carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins—into the most productive and accessible bioenergy. Jeon hopes to increase the bioavailability of biomass and convert them into sustainable, eco-friendly energy. Bioenergy and its advantages Jeon also shed light on the flexible versatility of bioenergy, putting emphasis on its convenience and portability. Unlike other forms of energy such as solar power, wind power or electricity, bioenergy is portable and storable. In the case of solar or wind power, the energy must be converted into forms of electricity and be put in a battery for storage and transportation. Electricity always necessitates cables, wires, and power transmission systems, whereas bioenergy is free from all these requirements. On the same note, petroleum, gas, and diesel could also be the most convenient forms of energy—satisfying both portability and storability—which is why it is being used worldwide. Nonetheless, the reason Jeon still argues for bioenergy is because of its eco-friendly aspect. “Research and development of bioenergy is an indispensable task for humans. Our perpetual goal is to devise the method of producing bioenergy with stability, drawing the most from the limited, given biomass. We must find a way to obtain bioenergy with sustainability, converting carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins into sustainable biofuels,” concluded Jeon. Microalgae being converted into biofuel in storable form. Jeon Chae-yun chaeyun111@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Moon Ha-na

2016-11 14

[Academics]Architecture Over the Centuries

Professor Nam Sung-taek of the Department of Architecture holds his prime interest in the comprehensive theory of symphonizing diverse scales of artificial environmental design from a small-scaled objet—a French word meaning object, material, or thing—to a large-scaled city. In his paper, 'The Effect of Everyday Objects on Indoor Remodeling: Loos and Le Corbusier, 'Housing Professors' ', Nam minutely elucidated the relationship between objets and space, which all together contribute to the principles of architecture. He also accounted for the change of the roles of architects and the definition of architecture design as a result of the shift in production of goods from artisan’s craftsmanship to mass production in factories as industrialization took place in the 20th century. Shift in the Role of Architects ▲ Nam explains that an architect is not a form master but a housing professor. Up until the early 20th century, the idea of total art was dominant in the field of architecture. It is a system in which an architect designs not only the architecture itself but also what is contained within and stands around that construction, from the objets that relate to everyday life including spoons and chairs to the entire city at large. In other words, an architect used to design everything from an objet to the whole city, becoming a “form master” who created and designed small objets, spaces, and architectures that eventually expanded and came together to form a city. It was not only the buildings themselves that portray the architect’s work but also what is in the building and how the objets were put in place as well. This convention often emphasized the artistic work that regarded the whole city as one architect’s art work, giving rise to the concept of total art again. The architects who sought the ideals of total art were tossed with an insurmountable dilemma—whether to reject or accept the shift—as the industrialized city began producing things that could not be hand-made and that which were more readily accessible, suggesting an alternative option for the residents to design their own homes instead of entrusting the experts. In the face of such confusion, two architects who proposed a new notion at the time were Adolf Loos of Austria and Le Corbusier of Switzerland. The two architects embraced the on-going change and adjusted the principles of architecture accordingly, pioneering a concept called 'housing professor', which pointed out that architects are no longer form masters but teachers who educate people on residence and living: that is, training them how to select the appropriate objets for individual’s houses, rather than designing every little piece in a work. Their proposition allowed the residents to scheme their own houses by choosing objets that suited their taste and personality, creating what is like a personal 'museum' or 'gallery'. “I admire the two outstanding architects in many aspects. They did not simply encage themselves within the traditional boundaries of architecture and rejected external factors such as changes or surrounding environments but attentively examined all the potential influences around them that might have an impact on their work. Embracing and incorporating the on-going circumstance candidly was the key to permitting further improvements to breakthrough. To create every piece of a complete architecture from an objet at small to a city at large, the two architects observed and applied the outside forces into their architecture and did not hesitate to change their views if necessary,” noted Nam. Contemporary Architecture It was not so strange in the past for an individual to seek the help of an architect to design the doors and tables to be placed in their houses. However, industrialization pivoted this perspective, by letting individuals to freely choose and customize the designs of their houses. Consequently, the opposite is true today. people seldom desire guidance of architects and prefer to independently pick the objets and sketch their own rooms when it comes to architecture. On this note, with people having much interest in designing their residences, Nam hopes those interests connect to the study of architecture, which became too cultural to be solely considered as an academic branch nowadays. He hopes that architecture will mean something more than just a part of industry and highlight its cultural aspect which can be a crucial part in our history. ▲ Nam pinpointed that architecture is part of our culture and history. Jeon Chae-yun chaeyun111@hanyang.ac.kr Photos by Choi Min-ju