Advantages of Cell Disruption for Algae-Based Biofuel

Posted by Deb Shechter on Nov 17, 2015 12:30:00 PM

advantages-of-cell-disruption-for-algae-based-biofuelEarth’s atmosphere contains more carbon dioxide today than at any point in the last 800,000 years. The Industrial Revolution marked an exponential rise in fossil fuel emissions, which led to a huge increase in human-driven carbon dioxide pollution. (1) To combat this pollution, which is responsible for global warming and environmental contamination, biofuels were developed as a natural alternative to fossil fuels. Yet there exist multiple types of biofuel cells and production methods. Keep reading to gain further understanding of the benefits of microalgae-based biofuel, and why cell disruption techniques are required for its production.

Biofuel is classically defined as that which is derived directly or indirectly from organic matter; whether plant-based or animal-based, the broken down products contain energy that is still usable. Because of its natural base, particularly compared with fossil fuels, biofuel is much more environmentally friendly. Its usage has grown to meet an impressive 10% of global energy demand.

Although plenty of organic materials can be converted into biofuel, microalgae has gained in popularity over recent years. Because of its autotrophic nature, it can slightly alleviate atmospheric C02 by using it for photosynthetic processes. Additionally, it has a significantly higher rate of growth than other plants, which also confers higher biomass output.

Under some conditions, microalgae can also yield more oil than even soybean or oil palm; this feature of yielding high amounts of oil is key in the plant’s attractiveness as a biofuel. The only drawback is its incredibly high production costs. To mitigate these costs, researchers can use wet extraction over dry extraction, which is preferable for its avoidance of costs associated with the drying process. However, algal oil is enclosed within its cells, and as is the case for all plant cells, is well-protected by a tough cell wall that needs to be penetrated. (2)

Cell disruption is the central method with which to break through cell wall in general. In this case, it results in access to valuable biodiesel oils. High pressure homogenization has been shown to be one of the most effective cell disruption methods because of both its forceful and effective nature and its cost efficiency. BEE International is globally recognized among laboratory managers and researchers for our high quality homogenizers and excellent customer support. Cell lysis is just one of a variety of applications for BEEI homogenizers; nano/micro emulsions, lipids, suspensions, and dispersions are also easily achievable. Additionally, the homogenizer processes can be controlled to suit your product, which will allow you to customize to your cell type. And finally, the equipment is easy to use, produces higher yield in less time, and achieves results that are reproducible and scalable.

To learn more about how to effectively lyse your biofuel-destined plant cell, check out our high pressure homogenizers. If you're looking for more information on how to optimize your cell disruption process, download our FREE eBook below:

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Carbon Nanotube Dispersions: 3 Reasons To Homogenize

Posted by Deb Shechter on Nov 13, 2015 12:30:00 PM

carbon-nanotube-dispersions-3-reasons-to-homogenizeIf you were told that carbon atoms could be the framework of anything from cancer treatment to space elevators to energy storage, would you believe it? I would be immediately doubtful. However, growing bodies of evidence are indicating carbon nanotubes (CNTs), cylindrical sheets of carbon latticework, as the force behind such novel ideas. (1) CNTs are both fibrous and conductive, and are incredibly unique compared to other molecules with similar properties. However, to access their properties for use in applications, CNTs must first be dispersed, oftentimes into a liquid medium. Researchers may use one of many methods to disperse CNTs; however, homogenization, a comparatively new arrival to the market, may be incredibly efficient compared with other existing methods. Keep reading to better understand why you should homogenize when making carbon nanotube dispersions.

  1. Accelerated Processing Time

Sonication has been classically used to disperse CNTs; over a prolonged period of time, separation of bundles allows for dispersion into a liquid medium. However, emergence of the high pressure homogenizer demonstrated that the same process can be accomplished over a very short period of time. By adhering to this accelerated process time, experiments can be run quicker and at a lower cost to laboratory resources. (2)

  1. Decreased Particle Size

CNTs contain naturally occurring agglomerates that have unique properties; for example, their strength and tenacity is rare among other fibrous materials, and their thermal and electrical conductivity are high compared with other conductive materials. To access these properties, the agglomerates must be dispersed. Although other mixing methods exist, such as a three roll mill or torus mill, homogenization can both decrease particle size more than other known methods and work gently enough to minimize conductive filler degradations. (3)

  1. Increased Amount of CNT in Composite

By increasing the amount of CNT in the composite, one study showed that this leads to increased conductivity, AKA enhanced function. In the study, researchers were able to increase the CNT concentration to above 50% through homogenization. However, additional studies will be needed to determine the upper critical CNT concentration. (4)

BEE International: Homogenizers That Support Chemical Processing

Over the next few years, many labs that require carbon nanotube dispersions may begin using a homogenizer for the process, if not using one already. BEE International Technologies is globally recognized among lab managers and researchers for their high pressure homogenizers. BEEI’s particle reduction homogenizer technology creates more consistent emulsions and dispersions; these can result in improved chemical reactions, reduced spending, and eliminated need for volatile organic compounds. Additionally, our modular technology offers unique processing setups to address specific processing challenges.

Products that benefit from our high pressure homogenizer, specific to the chemical process, include polymers, pigments, additives/resins, adhesives/pastes, and importantly, carbon nanotubes.

Learn more about how BEEI can improve your carbon nanotube dispersion process by visiting us here! If you're interested in more ways that homogenization can improve your particle size reduction applications, download our eBook below:

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How A Homogenizer Will Benefit Your Chemical Process

Posted by Jen Hug on Nov 12, 2015 12:30:00 PM

how-a-homogenizer-will-benefit-your-chemical-processWhen I think back to my college chemistry classes, I recall wondering how humans know so much about molecules that we can’t even see; I thought that the researchers behind these findings were amazing! As a working professional in the science field, I now know that I was right- those researchers truly were and are extraordinary individuals. But they also had access to chemical processing equipment that made their jobs easier in terms of both time and accuracy. In particular, the diverse and essential function of homogenizers makes this piece of equipment indispensable in any chemical laboratory or plant. Read on to better understand how having a homogenizer in your laboratory will benefit your chemical process.

Essential Functions

When selecting a high pressure homogenizer for chemical processing, it is essential to choose a company and model that will provide you with high quality output. Those on the higher market end will reduce the particle size of challenging materials; although most homogenizers can reduce particle size, only the best will process challenging materials, oftentimes in very few passes and with uniform output. These decreased particle sizes correspond with increased surface area, a valuable quality in chemical reactions.

In addition, homogenizers are beneficial to researchers who are either trying to replicate old processes or experiment with new processes. For example, the equipment can preserve existing particle morphologies or alternatively yield new and unusual particle morphologies. Finally, a high quality homogenizer should provide you with high aspect ratio, one-step blending and formulation, purification, and an accelerated chemical process, any of which is critical to successful experimentation.


Ideal dispersions and finer particles are, as described above, significant functions of a chemical processing homogenizer. By attaining these, you can expect to see maximum particle packing, better particle coating during formulations, increased conductivity, smoother surface quality, and finer printed features. A variety of industrial products can benefit from these characteristics; just a few include polymers (e.g. acrylic emulsions, solutions and dispersions, urethane prepolymers, and solvent-based emulsions), pigment and ink dispersions, carbon nanotubes, additives, resins, adhesives, and pastes.

BEEI: Makers of High Quality Chemical Process Equipment

Are you in need of a high pressure homogenizer for your chemical process? BEE International Technologies is trusted by lab managers and researchers around the world. Our chemical process equipment customers are improving a wide range of materials by expanding their capabilities and creating more diverse reactions. For example, our particle size reduction technology creates more consistent emulsions and dispersions with a tighter distribution of smaller particles. Additionally, our modular technology offers unique processing setups such as dual feeds, dual jets, and high viscosity chemical process equipment solutions.

Learn more about how BEEI homogenizers can improve your chemical process by visiting us here! Or to learn more information on how your chemical processing equipment can benefits your particle size reduction applications, download our FREE eBook here:

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Particle Size Reduction & Distribution in the Ceramics Industry

Posted by Deb Shechter on Sep 8, 2015 11:30:00 AM

particle-size-reduction-distribution-in-the-ceramics-industry-1.jpgParticle Size Reduction & Distribution in the Ceramics Industry

Particle size reduction and distribution is crucial to manufacturing ceramics, and manipulating the transport, mechanical properties and densification of oxides and minerals (e.g. aluminum oxide to zirconium oxide). Particle sizes range fairly broadly, from smaller than 100 nm to more than 100 µm.

Particle Size Reduction & Distribution for Electronic Materials

The electronic materials industry uses ceramic, metal, alloy and oxide powders in a variety of applications.  Whether manufacturing a single crystal, film or paste; particle size reduction and controlled dispersion of these powders significantly enhances their dielectric, resistive and conductive properties.  This is done through improved particle packing, increased homogeneity and improved mechanical properties (eg. better green strength and reduced porosity in barium titanate slip)

Particle Size Reduction & Distribution for Fuel Cells

Engineers rely on particle size reduction and distribution in order to control the chemical and physical properties of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) starting powders, as well as overall fuel cell performance (eg. such as compsite cathodes manufactured from LSCF and either GDC or SDC).  Final porosity, transport properties and thermal expansivity can all be manipulated by controlling the starting particle sizes of these powders.  The goal is to find cleaner and more efficient ways to produce electricity that alleviates dependence on coal and oil.

Particle size Reduction for Powders and Mixtures 

Particle size reduction and controlling distribution is widely used in ceramics, electronics, fuel cells and other industries.  Materials such as alumina (aluminum oxide), iron oxide, PZT (lead zirconium titanate), engineered solar glass and bio glass powders are commonly used in a variety of ceramics and can be some of the most difficult to process.

To achieve successful particle size reduction and distribution, it is necessary to generate forces directly to the individual particle. This can be done in a variety of ways.  However as these high tech industries require a trend toward smaller particle sizes, current methods of processing become more expensive and less efficient.  Many technologies tend to waste significant energy that is absorbed by the grinding media; or lose the precision to effect the individual particle when processing down to and below 1 micron.

BEE homogenizers have been creating sub-micron and nano materials with pharmaceutical powders and emulsions for 20 years.

BEE International Chemical Process Equipment 

At BEE International, our chemical process equipment is used by customers in the ceramics industry to improve a wide range of materials by expanding their capabilities, and creating more diverse reactions.

Specifically, our particle size reduction homogenizer technology creates more consistent emulsions and dispersions with a tighter distribution of smaller particles which:

  • increases surface area
  • improves chemical reactions
  • reduces the quantity of costly components
  • eliminates the need for volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • maximizes particle packaging
  • increases dense cross section of final products
  • improves particle coating during formulations
  • increases conductivity
  • creates a smoother surface quality and reduced porosity
  • allows for finer printed features      

In addition, our modular technology offers unique processing setups that solve specific processing challenges, such as: dual feed for addition of secondary additives, abrasive materials or catalysts; dual jets to increase impact velocities for hard materials; and high viscosity chemical process equipment solutions up to and above 100,000 cPs.

To learn more about our groundbreaking technology that is used by ceramics industry manufacturers around the world, visit:

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Particle size reduction equipment: is the microemulsion the drug delivery vehicle of the future?

Posted by Jen Hug on Aug 18, 2014 5:26:00 PM

Delivering therapeutic compounds into people or animals can be quite challenging. Digestive fluids destroy many compounds, including the biologics many pharmaceutical companies have been investigating lately. Taking drugs by injection doesn't appeal to most people, and increases the risk of infection from needles. 


Transdermal_patch_for_particle_size_reductionTransdermal drug delivery

One of the major functions of the skin is to keep out foreign agents. The skin does this with great efficiency, including keeping out pharmaceuticals. There are many advantages then, if the skin barrier can be overcome by transdermal delivery of pharmaceuticals. The drug can be released slowly and continuously into the system. Since the drug doesn't enter the body via the digestive tract it doesn't go through the liver's detoxification systems before reaching the parts of the body that need it. The only problem is getting the drug through the skin barrier.

What is a microemulsion?

Microemulsions have been under extensive study recently, as possible transdermal drug delivery systems. A microemulsion is a clear or transparent system with stable particles smaller than 150 nm. The emulsions which most of us are familiar with are cloudy or milky with large particles, and are not stable, eventually separating into its various phases. 

Microemulsions are ideal for transdermal drug delivery. Once created, they are stable. They can carry both hydrophilic and lipophilic drugs. Due to their structure, microemulsions can carry very high concentrations of drugs, and have an enhanced ability to pass through the skin. The small size of the particles, action of the surfactants on the skin, and the continuously fluctuating interphases can breach the skin's barrier.

Studies of the ideal microemulsion to carry specific drugs into the body through the skin are ongoing. Reducing the particle size may improve the penetration of most emulsions. Varying the oils, surfactants, and viscosity of the microemulsion can all affect the ability of the microemulsion to deliver drugs through the skin. Microemulsions can even be created that only deliver drugs into the skin rather than through it. The cosmetic industry uses microemulsions to deliver anti-wrinkle products into the skin's layers. 

Skin irritation?

One concern with the use of microemulsions to deliver drugs is their ability to irritate skin. In tests conducted to date, microemulsions, in general, seem to be far less irritating than solutions of sodium lauryl sulfate, a moderate to severe skin irritant. Most microemulsions have been about as irritating to the skin as saline. Test subjects exposed to microemulsions for up to four days exhibited no skin redness or apparent irritation. 

Microemulsions show great promise as drug delivery systems. If your research lab needs particle size-reduction equipment to expedite research into the ideal microemulsion to carry a particular pharmaceutical across or into the skin, don't hesitate to contact us