Dhairya Mehta

Graduate Research Assistant

Co-advised by Professors Fabio Ribeiro and W. Nicholas Delgass

Professional Networks



Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai - Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (2009)
Purdue University Ph.D. Chemical Engineering (2009 - present)


  • First prize in the Industry Defined Problem competition held at IIT Bombay, India (2008)
  • PGSG and Eastman travel grant for travel to AIChE, ACS conferences (2013)
  • Honorary mention in the best paper presentation competition at the Annual Graduate Research Symposium, School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University (2013)

About Me

Hometown: Mumbai, India
Hobbies/Interests: Cricket, Reading political or sport biographies

Project Description (High-level)

As a part of the larger biomass to liquid fuels group, my focus is in the area of hydrodeoxygenation catalysis. My responsibilities range from preparation of catalysts, testing these catalysts with model compounds and finally characterization of catalysts. The objective is to obtain a structure-activity relationship, helping us predict and design catalysts for real biomass feedstock conversion to hydrocarbon fuels.

Project Description (Detailed)

Catalytic hydrodeoxygenation: Design and operation of a high pressure vapor-phase fixed bed catalytic reactor to measure the kinetics of hydrodeoxygenation of biomass model compounds. Several Pt-based catalysts are studied to understand the role of hydrogenation metal as well as oxophilic promotion in hydrodeoxygenation selectivity. The kinetics is complemented by various characterization tools such as Chemisorption, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Transmission electron microscopy to understand the structure-activity relationship.

Millisecond hydropyrolysis: In collaboration with Prof. Anderson, we modified a rocket engine to build a continuous feed hydropyrolysis reaction with ~70 millisecond residence time. This reactor allowed us to corroborate the results on our micro-gram scale reactor with mass balance. These results impact our understanding of the pyrolysis process in terms of the effect of residence time on the product distribution.