(6de) Advanced Materials for Catalysts, Membranes and Sorbents Applications and Renewable Energy Technologies

Rownaghi, A. A., Georgia Institute of Technology

My research focuses on the interface of chemistry, chemical engineering and materials science. Over the past six years, I have excelled in my research efforts related to the synthesis, characterization and application of organic/inorganic materials for catalysts, membranes and sorbents applications and renewable energy technologies. My PhD research experience at University Putra Malaysia involved development of a cost-effective method for synthesizing novel mixed-metal oxide catalysts being used in light alkane dehydrogenation and oxidation applications, in particular in n-butane to maleic anhydride process, whereby I adapted recent developments in reaction science to advance the development of novel catalysts. My PhD work resulted in 3 patents and 7 papers that have been published in high quality catalysis and chemical engineering journals.

During my previous research at Lulea University of Technology (LTU) in Sweden, I was involved in catalytic production of methanol, dimethyl ether and biofuel from black liquor synthesis gas. The work focused on catalyst synthesis (mainly mixed metal oxides and zeolites), characterization and evaluation into two different catalytic process; (1) conversion of black liquor synthesis gas to methanol (high-pressure hydrogenation reactor), and (2) methanol conversion to dimethyl ether and gasoline-range hydrocarbons (high-temperature dehydration reactor). As part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers and graduate students from LTU university and industry partners, for the first time in the world, we produced bio-methanol from black liquor synthesis gas.

Currently, I am a post-doctoral fellow at Georgia Tech, with Prof. Bill Koros working on membrane gas separations by tailoring membrane characteristics through investigation of new materials and structures to selectively control mass transport at the molecular level. In particular, the current research is focused on producing novel mixed-matrix hollow-fiber membranes and sorbents for post-combustion CO2 capture. This work addresses the economics of CO2 capture with easier scalability.

My research interests in the near future will focus on the fundamentals and applied aspects of catalysis and separation employed in science and engineering for sustainability. The proposed research will seek to design, synthesize and evaluate advanced catalytic materials to allow for revolutionary advances in separation and reaction science to address critical issues in pollution control, waste-to-energy and renewable energy and fuels.

18 Total publications, 13 first author, h-index=9