- Bio-Renewable Lab (BRIL) is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment:
- A Frontier Laboratories Multi-Function Pyrolyzer (EGA/PY-3030D) with GCMS and other support system for thermal analysis of organic materials.
- Two high pressure and temperature reactors with precious temperature control for hydrothermal conversion of wet agri-waste and agri-processing feedstocks.
- A custom design laboratory scale continuous high pressure and temperature reactor for hydrothermal conversion of wet agri-waste and agri-processing feedstocks.
- A custom design pilot scale continuous high pressure and temperature reactor for hydrothermal conversion of wet agri-waste and agri-processing feedstocks.
- A continuous flow supercritical water gasification setup to analyze the gasification process of a feed material (e.g. biomass, plastics, and chemicals).
- A custom Tubular Quartz wool matrix reactor for torrefaction, pyrolysis and gasification of solid materials with online products separation.
- A continuous flow fermenter for producing chemicals and ethanol from syngas.
- A fluidized bed reactor for biomass conversion.
- Simultaneous DSC-TGA to study weight loss kinetics for samples.
- Analytical FT-IR (Nicolet 6700 FT-IR Spectrometer) integrated with TGS/DSC.
- Elemental analyzer to evaluate C, H, N, O and S from biomass, waste, coal plastics, soil etc.
- Retsch PM100 ball mill with accessories for size analysis of solids materials.
- Online gas analyzer.
The state-of-the-art equipment available at BRIL support more efficient, accurate and reproducible thermal conversion. They facilitate significantly enhanced analysis capacity and flexibility, allowing users to characterize virtually any organic materials, including solids, liquids and gas. In addition, the double shot capability in GCMS delivers two analyses of a single sample; the first shot produces a total ion chromatogram of the volatile fraction of the sample in a GC/MS, and the second shot produces a polygram of the polymeric fraction of the sample. This critical set of information is an inherently major limitation in other conventional pyrolytic equipment and may lead to missing characteristic sample traits. Currently there is no such multifunctional pyrolyzer and continuous HTC reactor available at University of Guelph or at nearby universities. The listed equipment and infrastructure have further strengthened U of G’s capability of performing cutting-edge research in the area of bio-economy in the context of circular economy and zero waste scenario. In short, BRIL Lab facility supports:
- Characterization of biomass and renewable resources.
- Manipulation and monitoring of thermal and hydrothermal conversions.
- Establishing chemical conversion routes and preparation of renewable material and energy.
- Modeling of efficient applications of renewable resources.
Education and Employment Background
Prof. Animesh Dutta received his PhD from Dalhousie University in 2002. Dutta joined the School of Engineering, U of G, in May 2010 after five years of appointment as an assistant professor in two other institutes: Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), a postgraduate institute in Thailand (July 2005–Sept. 2007), and Faculty of Agriculture at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia (Oct. 2007–April 2010). Prior to his academic appointment in 2005, Dutta worked for multiple research organizations where his last designation was Research and Development Manager. Currently, Dutta is a full professor and the director of Bio-Renewable Innovation Lab (BRIL) in U of G’s School of Engineering.
Dutta specializes in advanced energy systems and thermo-fluid science. He aims to develop a wide variety of bioproducts including bio-carbon (potential substitute for coal), bio-oil (potential substitute for petroleum), and syngas (the main building block of any fuel and chemicals) from non-food waste bioresources through green thermo-chemical and bio-chemical processes. Key research themes include:
- Waste to wealth. Dutta's discovery research program proposes to valorize biomass derived waste streams. The traditional waste management system contributes to the depletion of raw resources, the exhaustion of sites suitable for land filling, the dispersion of toxic materials into the environment, and the generation of greenhouse gases (GHG). Mimicking nature, the “closed loop approach” concept is explored. A unique aspect of this envisioned advanced bio-refinery approach is to target the recovery of value from every co-product of biomass conversion by utilizing the outputs of one process as the input to another, leading to zero waste solutions.
- Biomass co-firing and/or replacement of coal in existing fossil fuel plants. Dutta aims to support the immediate implementation of GHG reduction in large power plants with carbon-neutral biomass. In collaboration with a team of experienced academic, industry and government professionals, he is evaluating the implementation of torrefaction of biomass (agricultural residues) to achieve large-scale commercial production of torrefied biomass, and supply bioenergy for industrial applications and power generation.
- Chemical looping thermal gasification of biomass. Dutta aims to achieve near-term GHG reduction through production of hydrogen from biomass. He is exploring the production of H2 from biomass with simultaneous separation of CO2. The technology will serve the twin purpose of regenerating the sorbent, and generation of N2-free H2 and CO2. The idea of biomass gasification to produce H2-enriched gas on a continuous basis with simultaneous regeneration of sorbent (chemical looping) is a novel and original approach.
- Biomass conversion in supercritical water. Dutta is exploring longer-term GHG reduction, as a future frontier technology for hydrogen production from biomass. A novel integrated hydrogen production scheme using supercritical water gasification in fluidized bed is planned to examine where the char coatings on the catalysts will be deliberately burnt, thus producing heat for and the gasification process, while regenerating catalysts at the same time.
- Valorization of agricultural and food wastes. Dutta is exploring a hybrid thermochemical and biochemical approach to produce hydrochar/activated carbon, bio-methane, and bio-fertilizer from wet biomass using the circular economy concept. These resources have low net CO2 emissions and, if economic, environmental, and social impacts are properly managed, they can potentially be sustainable.
- Funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2018–2023
- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs funding, 2011–2021
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant, 2009–2021
- Best in Science Award from Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ontario, 2014–2020
- CEPS Graduate Supervision Award, 2019
- New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) Panel Member, 2019
- Henan Outstanding Foreign Scientist, School of Chemical Engineering and Energy of Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China, 2017–2018
- NSERC Evaluation Panel Member for Discovery Grant Application (1511), 2016–2018
- Funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Leaders Opportunity Fund, 2013 and CFI John R. Evans Leaders Fund, 2017
- Guest Editor, Energies, 2016
Turning Food Waste into Bioproducts: