CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT
Professor Ashok K Bhattacharya at the Brunel University London is the coordinator of the SUPRABIO project and is the leader for Work Package 2 on second Generation Biofuels.
Brunel’s technical contribution encompasses new developments in catalytic conversion of biomass intermediates to second generation biofuels. The approach is to apply thin coatings of very active nanocrystalline catalysts on to the internal surfaces of microstructured reactors having greatly improved heat and mass transfer characteristics. This leads to intensification of the catalytic process and is a novel step in improving efficiency, reducing reaction steps and downsizing plants.
A number of pathways in the overall Biorefinery scheme are being investigated:
- Processing of mixed polyols to hydrocarbons and mixed alcohols
- Hydrogenation of seed oils to biofuels
- Separation and conversion of volatile fatty acids to hydrocarbons
- Single step conversions of syngas to dimethyl ether (DME)
- Conversion of syngas to biodiesel via Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
Expertise contributed to the project:
- Process design, development and optimisation
- Catalysis and catalyst preparation by a wide variety of routes
- Preparation of nanomaterials and manipulation of catalyst properties at the nanoscale
- Application of highly active adherent and uniform thin coatings of catalyst on reactor plates
- Syngas processing
- Scale up of catalytic reactions for side stream demonstrations
- Project Management and Coordination
EXPERIENCE AND FACILITIES
Brunel University in West London is a dynamic institution with over 15,000 students and nearly 900 academic staff with total staff numbers in excess of 2,400 operating in a vibrant culture of research excellence. With a turnover of more than £160 million, the University is a Higher Education and research establishment with considerable intellectual, financial and social resources. It plays a significant role in the higher education scene nationally and has numerous national and international links and partnerships with both academia and industry. Brunel comprises of 8 academic Schools and 7 Specialist Research Institutes, conducting research ranging from social sciences and health and social care to mechanical and material engineering and information systems, computing and mathematics. Major research initiatives are coordinated through interdisciplinary Collaborative Research networks in the fields of Ageing, Complex Systems, Creative Industries, Innovative Manufacturing, Energy and Environmental Sustainability.
According to the last Research Assessment Exercise, with 82% of Brunel research rated as of international standing. These achievements were rewarded financially by the ninth largest increase in Government QR funding across the sector.
Brunel prides itself on its multicultural environment and has gained countless benefits from having staff and students from over 113 different countries contributing to both its academic and social environment. Brunel has a long history of inviting international staff to be part of the University, and it provides a dynamic and vibrant environment for international visitors.
Brunel has been awarded the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research accreditation for its commitment to providing high quality training and career development for researchers. Brunel is one of only 38 UK institutions to hold the award.