How JoVE videos helped research biogas purification and usage

Raveena Khatri, JoVE Writer | 8 min read
Raveena Khatri, JoVE Writer | 8 min read

The 2022 JoVE Researcher Innovation Awards have paved the way to highlight innovative uses of JoVE videos to conduct research and training and share knowledge outside the physical laboratory. We hope these blog posts will help you find inspiration on utilizing visual resources in the best ways.

Below you can read the winning entry by the 2022 JoVE Researcher Innovation Award winner, Dr. Armando Gonzalez Sanchez, Associate Researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Armando highlights how JoVE videos helped him research biogas purification and usage in his entry.

In the past 30 years, technology has changed our lives; cameras and phones have become one convenient pocket-friendly tool ready to click a picture or shoot a video; with technology, science and research have grown & developed new and innovative ideas. The worldwide pandemic challenged (and continues to challenge) the social order we were used to. We had to continue our research and education in confinement. As we switched from regular in-person to distanced models, visual media became our new every day, and JoVE, became an indispensable tool.

Here are three ways I incorporated JoVE videos and audiovisual aids to advise my graduate students and share the knowledge that we continue to create through our research with the community;

Science communication: conferences and symposiums

Science communication can be performed in many ways; one of these is through conferences and symposiums, where we, as researchers, share our objectives and findings with the rest of the scientific community. Pre-pandemic, we were able to review such information in person; nowadays, we are forced to use online commercial tools and visual aids such as slides and videos to present material. In April this year, we were a part of a symposium in conjunction with the University of Illinois, where we presented on the subject of "Biogas purification and usage." I spoke about what we do to treat biofuel and a few examples to illustrate how we have been successful. This information was prepared by consulting publications from JoVE, and after receiving questions on the presentation, we provided a file with the links to those interested. 

JoVE supports the online presentation of technologies to secure deals 

Apart from laboratory research, I am interested in the real-life application of the technologies I develop. Companies producing toxic and dangerous waste can transform it into a valuable product for themselves (functioning as a circular economy model) or the environment. Most dealings with these companies occur in online meetings, where I display the technologies we can offer. They can find more information on projects that use similar equipment and have profitable results. Such projects are located in the JoVE repository, like the one provided by Dr. Kaitlyn Sniffen on the pilot scale wastewater treatment through a raceway bioreactor (DOI: 10.3791/55256). So far, with the information in the JoVE repository, we have managed to secure deals with companies to install biogas treatment facilities in their production centers. 

Training students to handle lab technologies and equipment safely.

Finally, the most significant way JoVE has allowed me to continue with success in the endeavors of our research group is through the use of JoVE publications. My graduate students handled specific technologies and equipment in their thesis when in-person learning and experiment execution was impossible. As a part of my research, we designed and constructed an open raceway bioreactor for the growth of our very own microalgal consortium. However, its operation can be problematic since it is located outdoors. For this reason, students and I have come back time and time again to review Dr. Margarita Acedo's video publication (DOI: 10.3791/61498-v), which exemplifies how to begin operation in a reactor very similar to ours. This video is also helpful in passing on the knowledge of the process to new students joining the research group. 

Also, my research on biogas treatment could generate a potentially dangerous situation given this gas's explosive and toxic nature. I am compelled to instruct my students on the proper ways to check for leaks in the connections to a bioreactor. Thankfully, Ph.D. candidate Hannah Molitor performs this procedure in her JoVE publication (DOI: 10.3791/60566-v), which has been a beneficial visual aid to keep security measures for all involved. Since using video, we have had no issues in experiments currently being performed in our labs, such as leakages of biogas or any substance. 

The challenges provided by the world around us have forced us to find new ways to improve how we teach, learn, and create and divulge research. These past few years have proven that the possibilities are out there; what defines progress is our creativity as scientists to find and use them.

Want to hear more from Dr. Armando Gonzalez Sanchez? Register for our upcoming 2022 Researcher Innovation Award Winners' Roundtable to hear about the use of JoVE videos to accelerate STEM research & lab training.

Request full recording here

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