Michael Skinner, a University of Minnesota graduate student, was one of many students in attendance at the E3 2010 Conference in St. Paul, MN. He is a chemical engineering and material science student who presented his research based on reaction kinetics. Check out the video in the panel to the right to hear about his studies.
This work focuses on a unique, stratified reactor that combines upstream catalytic partial oxidation via noble metals with downstream acidic dehydration via zeolites in order to process biomass compounds into biofuels in a single, compact reactor. Ethanol is used as a biomass model compound to examine the reactor's ability to remove water from biomass compounds during autothermal operation at millisecond contact times. Ethanol conversion, product selectivity, and reactor temperature profiles resulting from varying ethanol, sacrificial fuel and oxygen ratios are presented and discussed.