Biochemical (biochem) research group
The biochem research group consists of students with chemistry, environmental engineering and chemical engineering knowledge who are doing both fundamental research and applied process engineering research to create biofuels and useful chemical from wastes. The name of the group changed from Biofuels to Biochem in Oct. 2021.
Abraham Castro Garcia
InfoSysEnergy Doctoral Student, Energy Course, D2 student
Effect of hydrogen donors on the catalyzed hydrogenolysis of Kraft lignin
Lignin is a widely abundant component of wood (15-30% weight), its chemical structure is a complex polymer made of phenolic units. It is possible to transform this lignin into aromatic chemicals which are currently obtained only from oil, with a wide range of applications. Hydrogenolysis reaction is used to transform lignin into aromatic chemicals by using alcohols and water as a source of hydrogen together with a nickel catalyst. Experiments are carried out in batch or bomb type reactors with different types of alcohols, temperatures, reaction times and other variables, the products consist mainly bio oil and is analyzed by GC-MS. The research objective is to find a combination of variables using machine learning that optimize the quantity and quality of bio oil produced from lignin.
IGP-A (MEXT Scholarship), GEDES, D2 Student
Enhancement of Lipids Recovery Efficiency for Biodiesel Production from Wastewater Sludge by using Direct Lipids Extraction
The increasing demands and use of petroleum fuels are harmful to the underground fossil fuels level and environment as well. There is a growing interest in biofuel production to replace fossil fuels by managing and utilization of wastes (biomass). Biodiesel is one of the promising biofuels produces from different edible and non-edible resources which has the same potential as petroleum diesel. Due to its feedstock and pre-treatment, it has a great challenge of high production cost which ranges from $4.4 to $6.0 per liter. Sewage sludge has been tested as a potential source of biodiesel production because of high generation and free availability but still, it has the same challenge of production cost in which the drying process contributes >50%. Our new approach is to produce biodiesel by direct lipids extraction with the elimination of the drying process and efficient lipids recovery by using different extraction stages.
Glycerol is a by-product of the biodiesel production of renewable biomass resources and one of the main surrogates of bio-oil derived from food waste. These materials could not be used directly as fuel or chemicals because of their high acidity, low heating value, presence of high moisture and inorganic impurities content. Therefore, glycerol upgrading is one of the significant mechanisms, comprised of dehydration, deoxygenation, and hydrodeoxygenation, for production of hydrocarbon rich fuel or bio-aviation fuel (BAF) that has similar properties to conventional jet fuel but with a smaller carbon footprint and reduce life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thus, in our research, a novel approach of thermo-electrochemical deoxygenation (TED) of glycerol at mild temperature and ambient pressure is under investigation. The application of increasing temperature in catholyte and electrolysis of water and glycerol producing two-fold deoxygenation within the system, using novel recombination of thermochemical and electrochemical reactions with small, applied potential between cathode and anode in dual-membrane cell, make TED as promising alternative to upgrade bio-oil into desired isopropanol.
IGP-A (MEXT Scholarship), Energy Course, D1 student
Glycerol upgrading via thermo-electrochemical deoxygenation (TED)
Palladium-based membranes for hydrogen separation from syngas have been studied by several research groups recently. Generally, syngas consists of H2, CO, CO2, CH4, H2S and H2O in various ratios which is a corrosive gas that is produced from gasification of coal or biomass. Impurities such as S, and Cl impurities in syngas adsorb on the Pd membrane surface and are reported to inhibit hydrogen transport across the membrane and block H2 dissociation sites. Consequently, the purity of the hydrogen gas produced is lowered by surface poisoning which also reduces the H2 purifier reliability and operating life. This study aims to investigate Pd60Cu40 hydrogen purifier membrane reliability issues when exposed to syngas including the membrane degradation/regeneration mechanisms. By understanding the membrane degradation/rejuvenation mechanism, longer operating times of the hydrogen purifier are to be expected.
IGP-A (MEXT Scholarship), Energy Course, M2 student
Production of Green Hydrogen from Syngas using Pd-Cu membrane
IGP-A (MEXT Scholarship), Energy Course, M1
Research on biomass gasification using pyrolysis process to produce syngas for maximizing hydrogen yield
Currently biomass gasification through pyrolysis technology to address global hydrogen challenges in energy is creating a huge amount of attention. In my research, the pivotal matter to consider would be to produce syngas from palm kernels shell (PKS) biomass gasification process for maximizing hydrogen yield. In that case, preparation of an identical (Co-Mo based) and cost effective catalyst will be formulated for gasifying the significant PKS biomass feedstock and the impact of catalyst designs on pyrolysis reactors and subjected to various process parameters and targeted product yield will be revealed evidently. Followed by, the intermediate reflux (IR) ratio for optimum PKS biomass feed charge and syngas volume calculation will be estimated and integration of data processing and machine learning methods for better processing of gasification data will be applied. Assuming that after the experiment, maximum yield of the syngas will be 61.4wt% and CO will be 23.6 wt% and carbon di-oxide will be 15wt.%.