Developed from an academic extension center established in 1936, the institution became an autonomous institution in 1969 and is today one of three institutions in the University of Alabama System. UAB offers 140 programs of study in 12 academic divisions leading to bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees in the social and behavioral sciences, the liberal arts, business, education, engineering, and health-related fields such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, nursing, and public health.
The UAB Health System, one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States, is affiliated with the university. UAB Hospital sponsors residency programs in medical specialties, including internal medicine, neurology, surgery, radiology, and anesthesiology. UAB Hospital is the only ACS verified Level I trauma center in Alabama, as rated by the American College of Surgeons Trauma Program.
UAB is the state’s largest employer, with more than 18,000 faculty and staff and over 53,000 jobs at the university and in the health system. An estimated 10 percent of the jobs in the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area and 1 in 33 jobs in the state of Alabama are directly or indirectly related to UAB. The university’s overall annual economic impact was estimated to be $4.6 billion in 2010.
In the fall of 2013, the University of Alabama at Birmingham enrolled 18,568 students from more than 110 countries, including 1,773 freshmen.
University of Alabama Birmingham research articles from Innovation Toronto
According to researchers, today’s biogas production is not very efficient – only 30 to 40 per cent of organic matter is converted into biogas – when compared to other energy sources. “The first tests conducted with BiogàsPlus demonstrated that product increases up to 200% the production of this combustible gas.
Researchers of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2), a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) have developed the new BiogàsPlus, a technology which allows increasing the production of biogas by 200% with a controlled introduction of iron oxide nanoparticles to the process of organic waste treatment.
The development of BiogàsPlus was carried out by the ICN2’s Inorganic Nanoparticle group, led by ICREA researcher Víctor Puntes, and by the Group of Organic Solid Waste Composting of the UAB School of Engineering, directed by Antoni Sánchez.
The system is based on the use of iron oxide nanoparticles as an additive which “feeds” the bacteria in charge of breaking down organic matter. This additive substantially increases the production of biogas and at the same time transforms the iron nanoparticles into innocuous salt.
“We believe we are offering a totally innovative approach to the improvement of biogas production and organic waste treatment, since this is the first nanoparticle application developed with this in mind. In addition, it offers a significant improvement in the decomposition of organic waste when compared to existing technologies”, explains Antoni Sánchez.
According to researchers, today’s biogas production is not very efficient – only 30 to 40 per cent of organic matter is converted into biogas – when compared to other energy sources. “The first tests conducted with BiogàsPlus demonstrated that product increases up to 200% the production of this combustible gas. This translates into a profitable and sustainable solution to the processing of organic waste, thus favouring the use of this renewable source of energy”, affirms Eudald Casals, ICN2 researcher participating in the project.
At the moment, BiogàsPlus has been successfully applied in cellulose and mud found in urban treatment plants, but it also can be used in different anaerobic digestions, such as agricultural, industrial or urban waste treatments.
“Now the challenge lies in extrapolating the technology to digesters with capacity for hundreds of cubic metres. This would allow using it in large-scale anaerobic digestion processes around the world, thereby greatly increasing the production of biogas, a renewable energy which is growing steadily and is accessible to everyone”, Antoni Sánchez explains.