Harshavardhan Choudhari

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)

Project Description (high-level)

Fast-hydropyrolysis of biomass

  • Investigation fast hydropyrolysis of cellulose to optimize operating conditions and relay the information to lab scale reactors.
  • Mechanistic understanding of fast-hydropyrolysis of cellulose in collaboration with advanced mass spectrometric techniques.
  • Fast hydropyrolysis of genetically modified biomass (S, G lignin); identification of lignin structural features which have significant effect on char production and pyrolysis product distribution.
  • Development of analytical methods for analysis of complex mixture of products using a GC-MS.

Catalytic hydrodeoxygenation
  • Screening of catalysts with model compounds (Dihydroeugenol and furfural), as well as biomass pyrolysis products. Pulse studies for hydrodeoxygenation pathway identification for model compounds.
  • Identified catalysts with high biomass carbon conversion to fuel grade molecules (>50% of starting carbon).

Project Description (detailed)

H2Bioil Process[1] - High energy density carbon based fuel from a sustainable source of carbon (biomass).

    Research Objectives
    • Experimental validation of the H2Bioil process.
    • Identification of optimal pyrolysis conditions and development of mechanistic understanding of fast hydropyrolysis of biomass.
    • Screening of candidate catalysts with actual biomass pyrolysis products for testing at lab scale.

    Experimental Setup
    • Built a micro-scale semi batch reactor system for safe high pressure hydrogen operation.
    • Developed a novel method for in-line GC-MS analysis from a high pressure semi-batch reactor.
    • Developed quick catalyst screening capability for biomass pyrolysis product conversion to hydrocarbons under high pressure conditions.

    [1] R. Agrawal, N. R. Singh, Synergistic Routes to Liquid Fuel for a Petroleum Deprived Future, AIChE Journal,55,7,1898-1905, 2009.