Dr M.N. Ahmad
BSc, MSc, PhD in Chemical Engineering
(On Sabbatical Leave)
Tel: + 44 (0) 28 9097 4389
Fax: + 44 (0) 28 9097 4627
Member of the CenTACat Research Cluster
Associate member of IChemE.
90% of the cane is still refined into sugar, which will end up in our tea and cakes. But the sticky syrup leftover is pumped into a distillery. Yeast is added and a simple process of turning sugar into alcohol produces the fuel of the future.
It is estimated that N. Ireland produces more than one million tonne of MSW. A lot of this waste can be hydrolysed using acids into sugars. The converted sugars can be fermented in a similar way to produce bioethanol. The hydrolysis process will be the rate determining factor in ethanol production. The rate of hydrolysis, the reaction kinetics and the effect of process parameters are currently being investigated.
Environmental and political problems created by the dependence on fossil fuels combined with the diminishing petroleum resources are causing the world to search for new renewable sources of energy and chemicals, and it has been said that the only foreseeable source of sustainable organic fuels, chemicals and materials is plant biomass. The roadmap for biomass technologies has predicted a gradual shift from a petroleum-based economy to a more carbohydrate-based economy, such as by 2030, 20% of the transportation fuel and 25% of chemicals will be produced from biomass. The current cost of delivered biomass on an energy basis is about $20-36 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe), which is below the current price of oil ($ 60-65 per barrel).
Despite the fact that heterogeneous catalysts have been the back bone of the chemical and petrochemical industry, few biorefining processes use heterogeneous catalysis. In this respect, the processing of biomass derived feedstocks is different from petroleum feedstocks in that biomass-derived feedstocks have low thermal stability and high degree of functionality, thus requiring unique reaction conditions, such as aqueous phase processing. In the proposed work, it is envisaged to study the two main stages (hydrolysis and biorefining of sugars into stable fuel products). In hydrolysis, the rate of formation of sugars will be investigated in terms of temperature, acid concentration and residence time. In the dehydration stage, the effect of different catalysts on the production of gasoline will be investigated with the prime objective of reducing coking. A comparative study between this method and sugar fermentation to ethanol will be conducted.
Researchers consider chemical oxidation techniques as valuable sludge pre-treatment. In literature, chemical oxidation techniques are especially applicable for (i) the treatment of hazardous organics present at low concentrations, (ii) the use as pre-treatment step before biological treatment of low volume, high strength wastewaters, (iii) the treatment of wastewater with constituents that are resistant to biodegradation methods and (iv) the use as a post-treatment step following biological treatment to reduce toxicity. Although, the application of chemical oxidation techniques to treat sludge is less mentioned in literature, the treatment of sludge with ozone, O2 (wet oxidation) and hydrogen peroxide/ferrous ions (classic Fenton oxidation) are proposed.
H2O2 is a strong oxidant and its application in the treatment of various organic pollutants is well established. The oxidation process utilising activation of H2O2 by iron salts, referred to as Fenton's reagent has been known for many years, but its application as oxidising agent was not applied until lately. Although the mechanism of the Fenton's pre-oxidation is well known, the responsible mechanisms for enhanced properties of the treated sludge are not fairly understood. Unlike other sludge treatment methods, pre-oxidation is a single process that occurs at ambient temperature and pressure. Initial results indicate that 40-50% DS can be achieved, which means a 20% increase compared to the traditional sludge treatment facility, resulting in a reduced energy for subsequent drying as compared with other methods.
The effect of inhibitory materials such as salt (NaCl) and phenol on the biodegradation of nutrients in sequential batch reactors is being investigated at different processing conditions. These conditions include inhibitors concentrations, effluent composition, pH and cycle variation. The effect is also being modelled and a comparison is being made between experimental results and predicted results.
Variation of ammonia removal efficiency with salt concentration
Variation of phosphorus removal efficiency with salt concentration.
Al Shahrani, Musaad
Al-Saud, Abdulrahman Bandar
McAleer, Lisa Mary
McMaster, Michael David
Neeson, Stephen Joseph John
O'Neill, Rebecca Elizabeth
Ricketts, Paul Edmund James