PhD topics offered by Centre for Energy for the July 2021 session

Prof. K.Mohanty, Head of the Centre,
Professor,Department of Chemical Engineering

Bioplastic development from microalgal biomass:

Synthetic plastics become global concern due to their non-degradability and persistence nature which highly contribute in existing pollutions on earth. Therefore, plastic development from the microbial biomass are the current trend in research. Bioplastic is an emerging field which will tremendously reduce the plastic pollution in the environment. Significant amount of polysaccharides and poly peptides are available in microbial biomass for bioplastic developments. Microalgae are one of the suitable among all microbes for bioplastic development. However, exploration of bioplastic from microalgae still not evaluated as much as compared to bacteria. Microalgae is potential feedstock and candidate for biofuels, nutraceutical bioactive compounds and various biomaterials specially bioplastic. Microalgae could able to grow on fresh water, wastewater and marine water. Bioplastic can be produced via two method direct and indirect way. In direct approach, whole algal biomass is processed or unprocessed including all the contents of algal biomass like carbohydrates, proteins, fat, polymers are participating in the bioplastic production.

Such biomass is blended with other plastics including petroleum as well as other bioplastics or both and passed through various thermo-chemical and mechanical polymerization process to produce hybrid kind of bioplastic. In second indirect method algal biomass act as nutrient feedstock for other microbes specially bacteria for production of various bioplastics like poly-lactic acid PLA, poly-hydroxy butyrate PHB (PHA) within the bacterial cells. Ultimately algal biomass serves as nutrient feedstock for microbes for production of reserved polymers for bioplastic synthesis. This process also considered as part of biorefinery of algal biomass.

Value added products generation from wastewater grown microalgal biomass:
Microalgae serve as potential feedstock for value added products like biofuels, biomaterials, nutraceutical bioactive compounds etc. Microalgae cultivation on wastewater either domestic industrial lead to the biomass generation as well as wastewater purification is highly emerging trends in current global scenario. So, such wastewater grown microalgae need to be biorefined to extract various value-added products via either chemical, thermal, thermo-chemical or biochemical methods. These products include bioactive hydrolysate, nutrient rich hydrolysates, biogas, bioethanol, biodiesel, biooil, biochar, syngas, nutraceutical compounds, fertilizer, biomaterials etc.

Prof. Arun Goyal
Professor,Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering

Lignocellulosic biomass utilization for bioethanol production:

Lignocellulosic biomass (Rice and wheat straw, rice stalk, rice husk) will be subjected todifferentpretreatment strategies. Saccharification of lignocellulosic biomass will be done by using cocktails of combination of recombinant cellulases (CtGH5, CtGH8, CtGH9 and CtGH1) and hemicellulases (CtGH11 and PsGH10). Lignocellulosic hydrolysate will be used to produce bioethanol by using mixed cultures (S. cerevisiae & C. shehatae). Production of bioethanol will be statistically optimized and scaled up for developing economically viable process.

Dr. Sisir Kumar Nayak,
Associate Professor,Department of EEE

Energy Efficient Power Transformer for Grid Integrated Renewable Energy Sources:
The renewable sources require transformers with different construction compared to conventional power transformers. To ensure the reliable and efficient operation of transformers for renewable energy sources, effect methods for early detection of faults would help in increasing the lifetime of transformer. The vegetable oils have proven to be promising for transformer application
After FAME production from seeds, the FAME is processed for production of transformer grade insulation oil.

Fig.1 Preparation of Green dielectric for energy efficient transformer application

Objectives:

1. Development of alternate vegetable oils for energy efficient power transformers

2. Development of early fault detection techniques to increase life of energy efficient transformers

3. Integration of Power Transformer with renewable energy sources

4. Development of Green Energy Efficient Transformer

Wireless Energy Transfer for Robotic Systems:
In this modern world, Wireless Energy Transfer (WET) is one of the most promising technologies and has great potential application especially when supplying energy through the wire is inconvenient. The automotive machines such as robots, drones, etc. can be charged and operated by using high energy transmitter at the transmitting and efficient rectenna at the receiving side to collect the energy. The wireless energy transfer is carried out by means of electromagnetic (EM) waves and is most reliable method for large distances and far-fields.

Objectives:

1. Designing of high gain lens to focus the EM waves to concentrate energy towards the robot.

2. Designing of efficient rectifier circuit insensitive to the angle of incidence of incoming EM waves and extended high power range.

3. Integration of WET technology with IoT for control and communication with robot/drone to make fully autonomous system.

Prof. Pranab Goswami
Professor,Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering

Biofuel cell as energy generating and sensing device:



Prof. Vaibhav V.Goud.
Associate Professor,Department of Chemical Engineering

Integrated Biorefinery Approach towards production of sustainable fuel and chemicals from Algal biobased systems:
The major objective of this study is to develop microalga-cyanobacterium biofilm as an innovative cultivation and easy harvesting strategy integrating simultaneous bioremediation and enhancement of the nutritive value of the algal biomass. Municipal wastewater (MW) is the liquid from activated sludge thickening process, that are rich phosphorus, ammonium, and COD. The common municipal treatment plant with a daily process rate of one million gallons can be a potential substrate for algae cultivation. For the cultivation of microalgae on MW, the microalgae strains need to meet several criteria including the ability to survive in wastewater, capabilities of high growth rate under heterotrophic or mixotrophic mode since MW contains both organic and inorganic carbon source.

As a preliminary examination, we achieved some encouraging results. Even, the consortium growth and removal of nutrients from the MW have been tested successfully with high biomass production. Overall, the significance of this study will emphasize the improvement of algal technological in a commercial broad spectrum in future endeavors.