SUSTAINABLE ENERGY CONVERSION Lab activities deal with the study of new energy conversion technologies for a decarbonized world through the development of high-efficiency, low-pollutant emission flame configurations, design of synthetic fuels and hydrogen production from fuel pyrolysis. Flame synthesis of nano-sized carbonaceous particles and carbon material recovery and valorization from process by-products are parallel and complementary fields of research of the group.
High-efficiency of transformation of traditional and innovative fuels and toward-zero emissions of pollutants are studied by advanced optical and spectroscopic techniques. Nanoparticle emissions are detected by differential mobility analyzers with resolution down to 1nm and contact and non-contact mode Atomic Force Microscopy. Multi sectional method modelling is used to follow the evolution of particles in flame.
Synthetic and sustainable fuels for transportation sectors -including aviation and automotive- are developed in terms of cleaner formulation and their environmental life cycle is assessed. Atmospheric photo-oxidation of primary pollutants emitted by new flame technologies and new innovative fuels are studied in a smog-chamber like experiment with quantitative size and chemical mass loading information in real-time for non-refractory sub-micron aerosol particles and black carbon containing particles.
New reactor designs are studied to optimize methane pyrolysis at high temperature for the co-production of hydrogen and high valuable carbon products.
Synthesis processes of carbonaceous and metal-oxide nanoparticles in conventional flame systems as well as recovery and valorization of by-products carbon materials are studied. These nanomaterials have peculiar features in terms of mesoposority, photo-electronic properties, chemical activity that potentially make them suitable for a large variety of applications; examples include: photoelectronic and electrochemical devices, lithium-ion batteries, antibacterial and antimicrobial surfaces and textiles, energy storage and sensor development and other alternative energy systems.
An array of advanced diagnostics is available – including Raman, UV-vis-NIR and fluorescence spectroscopy and High-Resolution Atomic Force Microscopy (HR-AFM) and Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Spectroscopy (STM-STS) to design and evaluate the features of the produced nanomaterials.