Research Projects

BIOMASS GASIFICATION

Although gasification is considered as a mature technology, biomass gasification possesses a new set of challenges as compared to coal gasification. The focus of the candidate’s research group is to make synthesis gas clean enough so that it can be used for biopower or biofuels production. Also, the presence of alkali and earth alkaline metals in biomass is detrimental to the reactors, and the candidate’s goal is to predict the influence of those materials on gasification behavior. This work is funded through the U.S Department of Energy, Southeastern SunGrant, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and the USDA-NIFA.

FAST PYROLYSIS

Bio-oil produced from biomass is rich in oxygenated hydrocarbons. The main requirement in the conversion of biomass to liquid hydrocarbon fuels is the removal of oxygen (deoxygenation) from and the addition of hydrogen (hydrogenation) to the biomass-derived oxygenate molecules. Hydrogenation requires the addition of a significant amount of expensive hydrogen. On the other hand, removal of oxygen in the form of carbon dioxide results in a high amount of coke formation. The candidate’s research focus is to integrate hydrogenation and catalytic cracking of pyrolytic vapors to produce more aromatics and olefins while reducing the amount of coke formation and minimizing the demand of hydrogen. This work is partially funded through the United States Department of Agriculture-Forest Service, the Southeastern SunGrant, and the Office of Vice President for Research of Auburn University.

HYDROGEN PRODUCTION FROM BIOBASED MATERIALS

If the fuel cells are the answers for the internal combustion engine, it is essential to find sustainable sources of hydrogen for the fuel cell applications. Hydrogen can be used as an end fuel as well as an intermediate substrate in a biorefinery. Catalyst design is a center piece for the hydrogen production using biobased materials. Our group has developed highly efficient catalysts for hydrogen production from glycerin, resulting in more than eight peer-reviewed manuscripts. Currently, one PhD student is working in hydrogen production from biobased materials. This work is funded from the internally competitive grant through the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES).
Last Updated: Dec 11, 2013