Research

Great experiences in the lab!

My research journey starts from the junior year of undergraduate school. As a research assistant, I had chance to work in Biochemical & Bioenvironmental Research Center at Sharif University of Technology, Iran, under supervision of Prof. M. Vossoughi, mainly focusing on nano-photocatalysis synthesis and application. For a short period of time, I conducted some research on modeling and simulation of natural gas sweetening at UAE University, UAE, under supervision of Prof. M.H. Al-Marzouqi. Starting Graduate school at Penn State on fall 2014, I attended Logan and Gorski research lab, focusing on harvesting of low-grade thermal energy as electrical power using thermally regenerative batteries.

Research Interests

  • Waste Heat Conversion
  • Thermal Battery
  • Lithium-ion Battery
  • Thermoelectrochemical Cells
  • Photocatalysis
  • Membrane Separation

Research Advisors

Prof. Manouchehr Vossoughi

Prof. Manouchehr Vossoughi

Professor of Chemical Engineering

ResearchGate
Prof. Bruce Logan

Prof. Bruce Logan

Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering

Google Scholar
Dr. Christopher Gorski

Dr. Christopher Gorski

Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering

Website
Prof. Mohamed Al Marzooqi

Prof. Mohamed Al Marzooqi

Professor of Chemical Engineering

Website

Research Projects

  • Thermally Regenerative Battery

    Thermally Regenerative Battery

    Harvesting of Low-grade Thermal Energy as Electrical Power Using Thermally Regenerative Batteries

    Thermally Regenerative Ammonia-based Battery (TRAB)

    Considering the depletion of fossil fuels and global climate change, the need for clean and sustainable energy sources is quite evident. A significant potential to obtain clean energy exists from harvesting low-grade thermal energy as electrical power. Low-grade heat (<100 ͦC) use has drawn increasing attention due to its potential for electricity production without the need for additional fuels. A vast amount of low-grade heat is generated from industrial processes and can be collected from solar geothermal sources (Fig. 1). There have been many different methods examined to transform thermal energy into electricity, including solid state devices based on semiconductor materials, organic Rankine cycles, thermoelectrochemical systems (TES), and systems based on salinity gradient energy (SGE).

    image1

    Figure 1. Various sources of industrial waste heat

    Recently, an efficient, inexpensive, and scalable approach was developed at Penn State to generate electrical power from waste heat sources by combining different aspects of the TES and SGE techniques, called a thermally regenerative ammonia-based battery (TRAB). A maximum power density of 115 W m–2 (normalized by the electrode projected area) was produced in a single (first) cycle, with 60 W m–2 produced over multiple successive cycles with electrolyte regeneration (Zhang et al. 2015)

    Figure 1-cFigure 2

     

    In a TRAB, power is derived from the formation of metal ammine complexes, which are produced by adding ammonia to the anolyte, but not to the catholyte. Ammonia concentration differences between anolyte and catholyte generate a chemical potential, which can be released as electrical current. Only inexpensive materials are used in this process, and the electrodes can be regenerated in successive cycles. In a copper-based TRAB, two copper electrodes are immersed in solutions containing dissolved Cu(II) (copper nitrate), and they are alternately operated as anodes or cathodes in successive cycles (Fig. 2). Copper reduction occurs at the cathode, with copper corrosion at the anode in the presence of ammonia. Low-grade waste heat is used to volatilize the ammonia from the anode, which can be subsequently distilled and added to the other electrode chamber to form a cycle. Currently, we are focusing on improve the heat-to-electricity efficiency by altering the solution chemistry, reactor design, and membrane.

    image2

    Figure 2. Schematic of the TRAB to convert waste heat into electricity

    Reference: M. Rahimi (http://sites.psu.edu/energyfromwater/technologies/trab/)

  • Photocatalysis

    Photocatalysis

    Synthesis and Application of Modified TiO2-based Photocatalysis for Water Treatment

    Graphical Abstract

    PhotoSun Science and Research Group:

    The PhotoSun Science and Research Group at Sharif University of Technology was established in 2011. The Research Group is led by Prof. Manouchehr Vosoughi and covers various aspects of photocatalysis, from synthesis of efficient photocatalysts to their applications in water treatment. The main focus of the group is the development of  novel, green, and cost-effective systems for removal of contaminants from the environment.

    Currently, the research group is synthesizing highly efficient TiO2 photocatalyst by doping with various metals and nonmetals, in order to reach the visible-light-driven photocatalyst. PhotoSun Research Group aims to develop highly efficient photocatalytic systems by understanding and optimizing the main parameters that control performance of the process. Additionally, environmental applications of synthesized photocatalysts such as organic pollution degradation and water disinfection are being investigated.

    As one of the few undergraduate student members of the group, I have been involved in various projects of the group as listed below:

    • Effect of synthesis parameters on the photocatalytic degradation of organic contaminants, September 2011-December 2011.
    • Design of laboratory scale photoreactor for photocatalytic reaction using Osram 400W as a light source, February 2011.
    • Comparative study of the photocatalytic performance of various transition-metal-doped TiO2 (transition metals: Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ag), February 2011-March 2012.
    • Design of photoreactor systems by providing a unique blade mixer and using low voltage LED lamp as a visible light source, July 2012.
    • Photocatalytic degradation of paraquat agricultural contaminant from aqueous solution using lanthanum-sulfur co-doped TiO2 under visible light irradiation, July 2012-September 2012.
    • Photocatalytic degradation of azo dyes (Acid Orange 7, Methylene Orange and Methylene Blue) under visible light using Ag-S/PEG/TiO2 photocatalysis: Optimization by response surface methodology (RSM), July 2012-September 2012.
    • Photocatalytic degradation of environmental pollutants under solar radiation, October 2013-January 2014.
  • Hollow Fiber Membrane Contactors

    Hollow Fiber Membrane Contactors

    Removal of CO2 and H2S from Natural Gas Using Hollow Fiber Membrane Contactor

    P-ChSRG

    Pure-Chemical Science and Research Group:

    I attended a training/research program at UAE University, Al-Ain, UAE, during summer 2012, which focused on the use of COMSOL software to model membrane contactors. At first, I expected that it will be a temporary period to learn a new field of research in chemical engineering; however, as time passed, beauty of modeling and simulation attracted me and as a consequence, after coming back to Iran, I established the Pure-Chemical Science and Research Group (PChSRG) in order to advance in this field of research.

    As the president of PChSR Group, I am privileged to have the opportunity to interact with other members of the group who are excellent students from various universities in Iran. This group of around twelve undergraduate students aims to model various aspect of hollow fiber membrane contactors under real conditions.

    Since our founding, we have presented two national conference papers from the activities of this research group.