Bioenergy and Water Research Laboratory
The world demand for water, energy, and food is increasing significantly because of increasing population and mobility, economic development, urbanisation, and other global changes. Hence, there is a strong need of interdisciplinary interventions addressing the concerns related to these three basic entities. Bioenergy, derived from biomass, can be a positive option with immense potential to contribute to the agricultural and rural development, mitigation of climate change, energy security, and a range of other innovative products. Considering the broad range of biomass sources, bioenergy production and consumption may have both positive and negative impacts on water and environment. For instance, growth of biomass such as energy crops adds pressure on water reserves whereas products such as biochar could be effectively used for improving water retention capacity of soil as well as for treatment of wastewater. This inextricable linkage between bioenergy and water will require a suitably integrated approach to ensuring water and food security, and sustainable agriculture and energy production. Our research group is actively engaged in the area of utilizing waste and residual biomass from agriculture, forestry, food processing industries, and municipal solid waste for the production of energy, fuels, chemicals, and other useful products. Thermochemical processes such as gasification, pyrolysis, and torrefaction are being explored for relatively dry biomass (e.g. agriculture and forestry biomass), and biochemical process of anaerobic digestion for wet biomass (e.g. food waste, manure, animal waste). In the water domain, our specific areas of engagement involve utilizing biochar and biochar-based composite formulations for treatment of wastewater from different sources. We also work on conducting sustainability analysis of various renewable energy systems, particularly, biomass-based systems. Other areas of interest include life cycle and techno-economic analysis of bioenergy systems, applications of chemical looping technology, and the bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). Motivated candidates interested in any of these domains or related areas are welcome to join our research group.
Sonal K. Thengane has joined as a faculty in the Department of Hydro and Renewable Energy (HRED), IIT Roorkee from August 5, 2020. Till then, he was working as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management, UC Berkeley in Sanchez group on life cycle and techno-economic analysis of biochar, and as a Research Affiliate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Ghoniem group on developing decentralized biomass torrefaction system operating in oxygen lean conditions (2019-20). Earlier, he was a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT working on biomass torrefaction and gasification (2018-19). During this period, Sonal served as an Entrepreneurial Lead for his team in NSF I-Corps receiving 50K USD funding to interview more than 100 stakeholders in biochar and fertilizer market. Sonal was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Tata Centre for Technology and Design, IIT Bombay and MIT, working on biomass gasification and pyrolysis with major focus on utilizing garden waste and agro residue for thermal applications (2016-18). He earned his Ph.D. from IITB-Monash Research Academy (2011-15) working on a project funded by Orica Mining Services, Australia in the area of ammonia and nitric acid production using chemical looping. He earned his Master in Chemical Engineering from BITS Pilani (2009-11) and B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from LIT Nagpur (2005-09), India. His research interests are biomass conversion and upgrading, water treatment, waste management, chemical looping, process modelling, and thermodynamic analysis. In extracurricular, he is an avid tennis player and a swimmer who has participated in several competitions. Resume https://scholar.google.co.in/citations?user=91FZfRoAAAAJ&hl=en
Pankaj Garkoti is sponsored by MNRE, and is working on management of energy and byproducts in the anaerobic digestion process for his PhD at HRED. Pankaj was born and brought up in Champawat, Uttarakhand "Land of the Gods". He completed M.Tech in Biotechnology from NIT Durgapur. In his spare time, he like to play chess, badminton, and read books.
Pratistha Rai is a UGC JRF Fellow from Faridabad (Haryana) working on biochar assisted wastewater treatment for her PhD at HRED. She received her graduation degree in Botany Hons.(2017) from the University of Delhi and her post-graduation degree in Environmental Sciences (2019) from Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow. She is also a recipient of the University Gold Medal for her outstanding academic performance during her Masters.
Kumari Anshu is on institute assistantship and is working on catalytic pyrolysis of biomass in fluidised bed reactor for her PhD project at HRED. She completed 5 year integrated M.Tech (2016 – 2021) in Energy Engineering from Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi. Her hobbies includes sketching, painting, playing badminton and cooking.
|Sr. No.||Name of Student||Session / Fellowship||Dissertation Title|
|1||Ramkhelawan Kanaujiya||2019-2021||City Sanitation Plan - Deoria City|
|2||Ankit Singh||2020-2022 / MITACS Globalink||Sustainability assessment of ethylene production from biomass|
We are looking for self-motivated undergraduates, graduates, postdocs and visiting scholars, as well as collaborators and sponsors to join our group or/and work with us. Students and researchers from diverse backgrounds of science and engineering having any common interests to BWRL are welcome. For any query or discussion, please send an email to: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thermochemical conversion of biomass
Thermochemical conversion such as torrefaction, pyrolysis, liquefaction, gasification, and combustion could be employed to convert biomass into a range of useful products such as heat, power, fuel, and chemicals. We are working on torrefaction, pyrolysis, gasification, and combustion technologies for utilizing residual biomass from agriculture and forestry sectors in India. Specific areas of investigation include fluidized bed pyrolysis system analysis, catalytic upgradation of bio-oil, continuous autothermal oxidative torrefaction, gasification-based CHP generation, and combustion characteristics of biofuels. We also work on pre-treatment processes for biomass such as drying, densification, chemical washing, and grinding, as well as on post-treatment processes for the bioproducts.
Applications of biochar
Biochar is a promising product in food, soil, water, and agriculture sectors because of its wide range of composition and properties. This carbon-rich solid product can also endure in soil for thousands of years, making it a potential candidate to address issues of energy and climate change. We are working on investigating the applications of different grades of biochar in wastewater treatment and in soil amendment. Both pristine and engineered biochar can act as an adsorbent in water treatment for the removal of heavy metals and other contaminants. Similarly, different grades of biochar could be studied for their potential to store carbon in the soil, and to reclaim the barren lands such as mining sites. In agriculture and soil sector, standalone biochar-based fertilizer formulations could be prepared by binding nutrient additives in various proportions to investigate the effects on soil quality and crop yields.
Sustainability analysis of renewable energy systems
Sustainability represents a multidimensional concept that strives to create a dynamic balance between ecological, social, and economic dimensions. So far as renewable energy systems are concerned, sustainable development implies provision of adequate and reliable energy services at affordable costs in a safe and environmentally friendly manner and in accordance with the needs of social and economic development. Hence, it is important to conduct sustainability analysis of the interventions proposed in the field of renewable energy. Our group works on different aspects of sustainability analysis such as techno-economic analysis, life cycle analysis, and socio-political analysis using different spreadsheets, simulation software, and multi criteria decision-making tools. We also look at the application of the analysis towards developing and promoting the concept of circular economy in the field of bioenergy, for instance.
|1||Stubble management using decentralized torrefaction systems for biochar-based fertilizers||3 years (2021-24)||PI||DST|
|2||Pyrolysis of residual biomass for resolving energy and water issues||2 years (2021-23)||PI||IIT Roorkee|