Office: Kingsbury W311
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CHE 502 Introduction to Chemical Engineering II
ENE709/CHE 809 Fundamentals of Air Pollution: Its Control and Origin
CHE614 Separation Processes
Project 1: The environment is contaminated by a wide array of pollutant mixtures –yet the literature lacks studies on mixtures of compounds, especially those of different chemical classes. The primary objective of this project is to describe the behavior of energy-derived contaminant mixtures in the subsurface environment in a broad manner, considering the interplay of dominant physio-chemical, biological, and geological factors. The goal is to develop corrections for transport models that couple physio-chemical properties to site-specific geological conditions, adding knowledge from bioavailability studies to potential remediation (i.e. thermal desorption, bioremediation, photo degradation) and risk assessment scenarios (i.e. vapor intrusion, soil↔vapor partitioning, migration to groundwater, volatilization from surface soil).
Project 2: To engineer a sustainable future, we strive for both our feedstocks and our products to be environmentally benign. As part of my collaborative efforts with the Materials Science Department at UNH and the Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) (a UNH, Northeastern University UMass Lowell initiative), I am crafting a project to investigate the degradation and fate and transport behavior of a variety of nanoparticles manufactured by CHN. While we know how to manufacture a variety of functional nanomaterials for a myriad of applications, their impact on human, animal, and environmental health is not well known. The other part of this research is the characterization of these novel materials. Degradation of materials is important in determining their usefulness and their environmentally acceptable endpoints, as well as in predicting long-term transport behavior.
Project 3: The volatility of oil markets makes finding alternative fuel sources, even stop-gap measures of fossil fuel sources, imperative. I am currently investigating the use of oil shale and its byproducts for energy generation and as environmental sorbents with a colleague at Brown University. To explore the prospects for byproduct conversion, we have characterized the byproducts of oil shale pyrolysis samples from China, Estonia and the United States in terms of porosity and surface area, critical temperature, activation energy, and are developing an extraction technique for the analysis of PAC and phenol present in the semicoke. This data sheds new light into the possibility of using semicoke residues as low-cost sorbents for pollutant capture.
Project 4: An exciting development in my laboratory this year was the establishment of an industrial partnership with Veolia Water Systems. We are forming an international team of researchers to tackle the byproduct conversion of waste from the olive oil industry. My laboratory will be investigating two portions of the overall system – wastewater treatment and byproduct recovery from the olive stream wastewater, as well as environmentally friendly disposal of the solid olive organic matter remaining after processing.
Project 5: Shifting our dependence from fossil fuels to carbon-neutral sources is a gradual process. Co-combustion of biomass in existing coal-fired power plants is an attractive option to increase the share of renewable fuels in the energy market. Designing and retrofitting equipment for these blends requires fundamental knowledge of pyrolysis and combustion characteristics to maximize energy output, reduce emissions and fouling, and optimize fuel ratios. This project aims to investigate the blending of locally sourced biomass with coal. Facilitating such processes would reduce the disposal of organic waste, limit long-range transport of fuels, and help provide a transition between fossil fuel dependence and an alternative energy future. This research directly applies to the EPA’s call for further information on the CO2 emissions profiles of biofuels for emissions regulations.