Shahbazi uses low value agricultural waste materials to produce value-added biofuels and bioproducts, including the production of ethanol through fermentation of various food processing wastes, and advanced biofuels from woody biomass. In the past four years he has been working on gasification of woody biomass funded by the NSF (CREST Center for bioenergy) that uses woody biomass and herbaceous grass to produce syngas and subsequently advance biofuels through catalytic reactions. He has authored/co-authored more than 60 peer reviewed research publications. He was the recipient of Senior Research award from NCA&T in 2006 and an interdisciplinary research award in 2014. He ass served as a convening board member for a legislature authorized Biofuel Center of NC in 2006-2008. He is now serving as a member of Technical Advisory Committee for Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI), Department of Energy
Syngas which is the product of biomass gasification is generally used in power production and in Fischer Tropsch (FT) synthesis process. The production of syngas is generally accompanied with several impurities. These impurities are mainly chlorine, sulfur, nitrogen and tar. For advanced applications such as FT synthesis, tar should be extensively removed to obtain a clean syngas for FT process. In power production application, the tar in the syngas will condense at low temperatures and cause blocking and fouling of engines. Tar removal can be done through condensation or catalytic cracking. Catalytic thermal cracking of toluene was achieved in this research. Different nickel and iron based catalysts were synthesized using the incipient impregnation method to obtain the desired catalysts. Several characterization techniques were used to investigate these catalysts. The measurement of total surface area and pore volume of the catalysts were conducted in a BET analyzer. The physiothermal behavior of the catalysts were investigated using TGA. The crystallographic analysis of the synthesized catalysts were carried out using XRD to characterize the metallic distribution on the support. The temperature programmed reduction analysis detected the reduction behavior of iron and nickel to be around 400 oC and 600 oC, respectively. The TGA results showed that the optimum synthesis conditions of these catalysts was around 450 oC. The catalytic activity of these catalysts was investigated in a fixed bed reactor. Results of these investigations showed that addition of iron to nickel increased the catalytic resistance to sintering, however the conversion rate of tar compounds was 60%. We also learned that the addition of magnesium as a promoter to bimetallic catalyst increased the conversion rate to 74%. These results showed that the above catalysts are able to convert toluene and ammonia to hydrogen, hence producing a high quality syngas for advanced FT applications.
Ibai Funcia has a Master Degree in Chemistry by the University of Navarre (Spain), a Course on Pedagogical Aptitude by the University of Navarre (Spain) and a Project Management Interuniversity Master's degree by the University of La Rioja (Spain). He is actually developing his PhD Thesis at the Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNa) on the Science and Industrial Technologies PhD Program. Since 2004 he has been working in CENER Biomass Department as a Biomass Researcher
Thermochemical modeling seems a promising tool in the biomass combustion field to avoid ash-related problems during combustion: slagging, fouling and corrosion. Several authors have used thermochemical software packages to understand and validate their experimental results in different biomass combustion studies, focusing directly on ash composition or ash streams composition. Besides, most of these studies are focused on operational issues, especially on those concerning de-fluidization phenomena, in pilot scale combustion plants. In this work, a thermochemical model was developed to predict inorganic elements’ release during combustion and the melting behavior and composition of the fly ash in the downstream, allowing to evaluate the effect of biofuel composition on the ash composition and behavior. With the aid of experimental data obtained by common techniques, previously used in other studies, such as chemical fractionation, and chemical analysis to understand elements distribution during combustion, the model could be validated by comparison with real data. The results obtained with the model presented in this work, reveal the importance of the S/Cl molar ratio to reduce ash deposition problems during gas cooling in the combustion of wheat straw using large scale vibrating grate technologies.