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Markov earns EPA grant for biofuel research

For the second time this year, an Austin Peay State University biology professor, whose research of hydrogen manufacturing for use as a biofuel in vehicles recently generated news headlines, received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to advance research on biofuel production.
For the second time this year, an Austin Peay State University biology professor, whose research of hydrogen manufacturing for use as a biofuel in vehicles recently generated news headlines, received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to advance research on biofuel production.

Dr. Sergei Markov, associate professor of biology, is leading a team on biofuel research, using a $10,000 P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) Award Phase I grant. The project is titled “Microbial Solution: Application of Microorganisms for Biofuel Production and CO2 Mitigation” and involves pilot-scale studies of biofuel generation from microbes.

APSU is one of 37 schools in the nation to receive the EPA grant and among seven for projects related to biofuel. The grant has two phases. In the first phase, an interdisciplinary student team from APSU under Markov's supervision has been conducting the research. Then in the spring, the team will attend the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C., to compete for Phase II of the award.

“This grant is very beneficial for students of our University,” Markov said.

Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation awarded Markov a $107,000 grant to advance research on whether hydrogen could be manufactured more efficiently for use as a biofuel in vehicles — becoming a possible alternative to petrol.

Markov has developed a prototype bioreactor that uses the purple bacterium Rubrivivax gelatinosus to produce enough hydrogen to power a small motor. As a result, his work has appeared in a dozen of publications on the Internet, including Science Daily, and on several foreign news Web sites and in newspapers.

Markov came to APSU in 2006 from DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., where he was an assistant professor. He also has taught at Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va., King's College London in England and Moscow State University in Russia, where he received his Ph.D. in microbiology and master's degree in biochemistry and physiology. -- Melony Shemberger