Sarma V. Pisupati

Directory Info

Sarma V. Pisupati

Professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering;

Undergraduate Program Chair of Energy Engineering

Director of Online Education

126B Hosler Building

814-865-0874

Biographical Sketch: 

Sarma V. Pisupati is a Professor, Chair of the Energy Engineering Program, and Director of Online Education in the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at Penn State. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Fuel Science. He has been studying and teaching the issues related to the energy and environment for the past 32 years. He has worked in industry for five years before joining Penn State.

Sarma's main areas of scientific research are combustion behavior of fossil fuels in fixed, fluidized, and pulverized modes; computational fluid dynamic modeling of combustion systems for emission reduction; advanced power generation methods; oxy-fuel combustion; slagging and fouling in gasification; coal and biomass co gasification, energy conservation methods.

He was Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI on 57 externally funded scientific research projects and was involved in 15 other projects with specific responsibilities. He co-authored over 170 research publications and has one U.S. patent, and is currently supervising five doctoral and two M.S. degree theses. Sarma is very actively involved in professional societies. His service to professional societies includes: Co-organizer and/or Co-chair or Moderator of 21 scientific and teaching related symposia for the American Chemical Society, ASME International Fluidized Bed Combustion Conferences, Annual International Pittsburgh Coal Conferences and American Society of Engineering Education; Associate Editor of the Journal of Energy Resources and Technology; Editorial Board Member of the International Journal of Engineering Research and Technology, International Journal of Materials Engineering & Technology; member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Newsletter Editor, Secretary/Treasurer/Program Chair, and currently Chair Elect of the Energy Conversion and Conservation Division.

Educational Background: 

Ph.D. (Fuel Science), The Pennsylvania State University

M.Tech. (Chemical Engineering), Indian Institute of Technology

B.Tech. (Chemical Engineering), Osmania University

Research Interests: 
  • Numerical modeling of combustion systems for NOx emission reduction
  • Advanced power generation methods; oxy-fuel combustion
  • Size and density effects on gasification of coal, slagging, and fouling in gasification
  • Simultaneous reduction of SO2 and NOx reduction using biomass based materials
  • Coal and biomass co-gasification
  • Mechanisms of Agglomeration of fluidized bed ash
Active Research Projects: 

In the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Sarma Pisupati and his research group are pursuing exciting projects to develop clean coal technologies and coal/biomass conversion processes.

Oxy Coal Combustion

One approach that has generated considerable interest is the burning of coal in O2 and recycled flue gas mixture to produce a near-pure stream of CO2 in the flue gas that can be easily sequestered or utilized in downstream applications. Thus, in this approach N2 in the oxidizer (air) is replaced by the CO2. However, due to differences in thermal properties of CO2 and N2, an oxidizer with a mixture of 30% O2/70% CO2 (molar basis) has been shown to produce similar flame characteristics. The char generated in a CO2 medium has similar reactivity to that of char generated in an inert gas atmosphere. However, very few studies have explored char reactivity, CO, and NOx emissions in increased gas concentrations of O2 and CO2. The challenges that Pisupati's group is addressing are to:

  • Distinguish the effect of CO2 during pyrolysis on:
    • Coal particle heat-up rate
    • Coal-N split between char and volatile phase
    • Resultant char properties
  • Establish the effect of char-CO2 reaction on particle temperature, burnout and CO emission
  • Sulfur capture performance of limestones under oxy-combustion conditions at high pressures

Gasification Behavior of Various Size and Density Fractions

Another approach for clean coal power generation is using Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC). Using this method, coal is gasified at high pressure and temperature using oxygen and steam to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen mixture (synthesis). The carbon monoxide is reacted with water to produce additional hydrogen and carbon dioxide (shift reaction). The synthesis gas is cleaned and burned in a gas turbine generating power. The gases exiting the gas turbine are used to produce steam using a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) which is then used in a steam turbine generating additional power. Hence it is combined cycle. IGCC plants are more efficient in converting coal to electricity than conventional coal plants and thus produce less CO2 per unit of electricity generated. One of the challenges in coal gasification is to achieve high conversion of carbon and less deposition of ash in the subsequent gas coolers. The goal of this project is to better understand the impact of the non-homogeneous nature of coal-on-coal gasification systems and to develop better modeling tools to improve reliability and efficiency of coal gasifiers. It is well known that the mineral and organic components in coals, known as macerals, vary widely in their composition, distribution, and occurrence. These components have a different physical and chemical makeup. When ground to the fine sizes required for advanced gasification systems, some of these components will separate to form particles enriched in individual minerals or macerals which respond completely differently than the aggregate or average coal particles. These outliers can lead to process inefficiencies, fouling, and other reliability problems. Coals will be fractionated by hardness and density and those fractions will be characterized, gasified, and the resulting information will be used to develop validated computer models.

Sarma Pisupati's Group is collaborating with researchers from U.S. DOE, West Virginia University, Carnegie Mellon University, SRI International, Niksa Energy Associates, REM Engineering Services, and Leonardo Technologies, Inc.

Co-Gasification of Coal and Biomass

Coal has a relatively low cost and a high energy density but its major drawbacks are its high emissions of environmentally harmful compounds (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide), and its low hydrogen-to-carbon ratio, hindering its direct use for combustion and its gasification for synthetic gas production. On the other hand, biomass as gasification feedstock although giving a high hydrogen yield, has the disadvantage of low energy density, high moisture content, seasonal limitation and poor reliability in supply, tar production due to low gasification temperature. Blending biomass and coal as feedstock can reduce the shortcomings of each fuel taken alone and boost the efficacy of the overall system. Therefore, co-gasification of coal and biomass offers a better prospect for cleaner coal utilization and a way to dispose wastes/biomass in an economical, safe, and environmentally friendly manner.

Agglomeration of Ash in Fluidized Bed Systems

conventional coal plants and thus produce less CO2 per unit of electricity generated. One of the challenges in coal gasification is to achieve high conversion of carbon and less deposition of ash in the subsequent gas coolers. The goal of this project is to better understand the impact of the non-homogeneous nature of coal-on-coal gasification systems and to develop better modeling tools to improve reliability and efficiency of coal gasifiers. It is well known that the mineral and organic components in coals, known as macerals, vary widely in their composition, distribution, and occurrence. These components have a different physical and chemical makeup. When ground to the fine sizes required for advanced gasification systems, some of these components will separate to form particles enriched in individual minerals or macerals which respond completely differently than the aggregate or average coal particles. These outliers can lead to process inefficiencies, fouling, and other reliability problems. Coals will be fractionated by hardness and density and those fractions will be characterized, gasified, and the resulting information will be used to develop validated computer models.

Sarma Pisupati's Group is collaborating with researchers from U.S. DOE, West Virginia University, Carnegie Mellon University, SRI International, Niksa Energy Associates, REM Engineering Services, and Leonardo Technologies, Inc.

Co-Gasification of Coal and Biomass

Coal has a relatively low cost and a high energy density but its major drawbacks are its high emissions of environmentally harmful compounds (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide), and its low hydrogen-to-carbon ratio, hindering its direct use for combustion and its gasification for synthetic gas production. On the other hand, biomass as gasification feedstock although giving a high hydrogen yield, has the disadvantage of low energy density, high moisture content, seasonal limitation and poor reliability in supply, tar production due to low gasification temperature. Blending biomass and coal as feedstock can reduce the shortcomings of each fuel taken alone and boost the efficacy of the overall system. Therefore, co-gasification of coal and biomass offers a better prospect for cleaner coal utilization and a way to dispose wastes/biomass in an economical, safe, and environmentally friendly manner.

 

Agglomeration of Ash in Fluidized Bed Systems

Possible causes for initiation and propagation of ash agglomeration in fluidized bed gasification and combustion are being identified through a systematic literature survey as well as thermodynamic, mathematical modeling and experiments. Various chemical and physical parameters affect ash agglomeration simultaneously. A useful tool for the industry would be an integrated model capable of making predictions based on both the fuel composition (chemistry) as well as the reactor configuration (physics), under a given set of operating conditions.

A two-particle collision model based on particle-level variations in chemical composition and particle hydrodynamics is being developed. Starting with an initial particle size distribution, this model is to be used to predict kinetics of agglomerate growth. Effects of particle composition on slag formation tendencies are being studied using FactSage, thermodynamic simulation software, on four specific gravity separated fractions of Pittsburgh seam coal. The slag formation tendencies are investigated under both oxidizing and reducing conditions. The amount and viscosity of slag are being estimated and incorporated into the agglomeration model developed using Stokes‘ criterion. Basic fluid and particle dynamic effects are being incorporated into the model based on kinetic theory of granular flow. Further, validation of the mineral matter transformations and the model developed will be done in a bench scale reactor.

Selected Publications: 

1. LaTosha M. Gibson, Lawrence J. Shadle, and Sarma V. Pisupati, “Determination of Sticking Probability Based on the Critical Velocity Derived from a Visco-Elastoplastic Model to Characterize Ash Deposition in an Entrained Flow Gasifier” Energy and Fuels, 2014, DOI: 10.1021/ef5008616

2. Khadilkar, A., Rozelle, P.L., Pisupati,S.V., “Models of agglomerate growth in fluidized bed reactors: critical review, status and applications” Powder Technology, 2014, 264, Pages 216-228

3. Tchapda, Aime, Pisupati, S.V., “A Review of Thermal Co-Conversion of Coal and Biomass/Waste” Energies, 2014, Energies 2014, 7(3), 1098-1148;.

4. Gibson, LaTosha, Soundarrajan, Nari, Spenik, James, Ma, Jinliang Lawrence Shadle, Pisupati (2), S.V.” Application of Particle Population Model to Determine the Contribution to Slag, Flyash, Syngas In Entrained Flow Gasification from Particle Size Distribution” Energy and Fuels, 2013, 27 (12), pp 7681–7695.

5. Soundarrajan, N., Krishnamurthy, N. Pisupati (2), S.V. “Characterization of Size and Density Separated Fractions of a Bituminous Coal as a Feedstock for Entrained Slagging Gasification” International Journal of Clean Coal and Energy, 2013, 2, pp. 58-67.

6. Rammohan, A., Turaga, U., Schembekar, V., Elsworth, D., Pisupati (2), S.V., “Utilization of Carbon Dioxide from Coal-based Power Plants as a Heat Transfer Fluid for Electricity Generation in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Energy” Energy, 2013, 57, pp.505-512

7. Gibson, LaTosha, Balaji, G., Pisupati (2), S.V., Shadle, L. “Image Analysis Measurements of Particle Coefficient of Restitution for Coal Gasification Applications” Powder Technology, 2013, 247, pp. 30-43.

8. Dhaneswar, S.R. and Pisupati (2), S.V., “Oxy-fuel combustion: The effect of coal rank and the role of char-CO2 reaction”, Fuel Processing Technology, 2012. 102: p. 156-165.

9. Chandra, D., Caleb C., Hall, D., Montebello, N. Weiner, A., Pisupati (2), S., Turaga, U., Izadi, G., Ram Mohan, A., and Elsworth, D., “Pairing Integrated Gasification and Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) in Semiarid Environments”, Energy & Fuels, 2012. 26(12): p. 7378-7389.

10. Soundarrajan, N., Rozelle, P.L. and Pisupati (2), S.V.  “Development and use of a method for prediction of the ash split in a CFBC boiler to improve the energy efficiency” Fuel, 2012. 102: p. 9-15.

11. Pou, J.O., Alvarez, Y.E., Watson, J.K., Mathews, J.P. and Pisupati (2), S.V.  “Co-primary thermolysis molecular modeling simulation of lignin and subbituminous coal via a reactive coarse-grained simplification”, Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, 2012. 95: p. 101-111.

12. Soundarrajan, N., N. Krishnamurthy, and Pisupati (2), S.V., “Physical and Chemical Characterization of Coal Particles Used as Entrained Flow Gasifier Feedstock: Heterogeneity in Mineral Matter Distribution”, Energy Procedia 2012, (14) 1735-1740.

13. Naredi, P., Y.D. Yeboah, and Pisupati (2), S.V.  “Effect of Furnace Purging on Kinetic Rate Parameter Determination Using Isothermal Thermogravimetric Analysis”. Energy & Fuels, 2011. 25(11): p. 4937-4943.

14. Naredi P. and Pisupati (2), S.V. “Effect of CO2 during Coal Pyrolysis and Char Burnout in Oxy-Coal Combustion” Energy and Fuels, 2011, 25 (6), pp 2452–2459.

15. Shannon, G.N., Matsuura, H., Rozelle, P., Fruehan, R.J., Pisupati (3), S. and Sridhar, S. "Effect of size and density on the thermodynamic predictions of coal particle phase formation during coal gasification" Fuel Process. Tech., Vol. 90, (9); 1114-1121, 2009.

Recent Activities: 

Professional Activities

  • Chair, Energy Conversion and Conservation Division, American Society for Engineering Education (2008-2009)
  • Chair Elect, Energy Conversion and Conservation Division, American Society for Engineering Education (2007-2008)
  • Member, Five-Member Expert Panel and Task Force, Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate (APP), U.S. Department of State (2007)
  • Chair, Petroleum Chemistry Inc. Trust Fund Committee of the American Chemical Society's Petroleum Chemistry Division (2006 - present)
  • Program Chair, Energy Conversion and Conservation Division, American Society for Engineering Education (2006-2007)
  • Session Moderator - Energy Curriculum Advances, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June 18-21, 2006 (2006)
  • Associate Editor, ASME Journal of Energy Resources and Technology (JERT) (2006-present)
  • Session Convener -12th Sloan-C International Conference on Asynchronous Learning Networks. (2005) Sessions on:
    • Creating Adaptable and Personalized Curricula: The Effect on Student Success
    • Hybrid Learning 101: A three day workshop designed for faculty
    • Achieving scalability through organizational change
    • Wise Model of Collaboration: Improve Access, Increase Quality, Decrease Cost
    • Faculty Training Credentialing and Support
  • Secretary /Treasurer American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Energy Conversion and Conservation Division (ECCD). (2005-2006)
  • Session Moderator - Energy Projects and Laboratory Ideas, ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, June 12-15, 2005 (2005)
  • Co-chair of a symposium on "Fundamentals: Nitrogen Oxides," 18th International Conference on Fluidized Bed Combustion, May 18-21, 2005, Toronto, Canada (2005)
  • Newsletter Editor, American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Energy Conversion and Conservation Division (ECCD) (2004-2005)
  • Guest Editor, Journal of Energy Resources and Technology (JERT) Special Issue June 2006 (2004 - 2005)
  • Chairman, ASME 17th International Conference on Fluidized Bed Combustion, Jacksonville, FL. (2003)
  • Treasurer, Petroleum Division, American Chemical Society (ACS) (2002-2005)
  • Chair, Committee for website management, ACS Petroleum Chemistry Division (2000-2003)
  • Program Chair, Fuel Chemistry Division, American Chemical Society (ACS). In-charge of planning and developing technical program by selecting the symposia topics, coordinating with the symposia chairs, ACS and Director of preprints for printing the preprints. (2001)

University Activities

  • Member, Individual Conflict of Interest Committee, Senior Vice President for Research Office, representing the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University (2007-present)
  • Chair, Fixed Term and Research Faculty (FTRF) promotion committee, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (2006-2007)
  • Chair, FTRF promotion committee, Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering (EGEE) Department (2006-2007)
  • Faculty Advisor to Delta Sigma Iota, A South East Asian Fraternity Penn State Chapter (2006-present)
Awards: 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions

  • John T. Ryan Faculty Fellowship, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (2008)
  • Best Paper Award, 1st Place in the Best paper Award Competition, Energy Conversion and Conservation Division, American Society for Engineering Education, Annual Conference and Exposition, Pittsburgh, PA, June 23-26, 2008 (2008)
  • Named - one of Penn State's "Most Valuable Professors" (MVP) on the student produced television show After Hours (2008)
  • Nominated and Selected to Homecoming Faculty Court by students at Penn State (2007)
  • e-Education Faculty Fellowship in recognition of scholarship of online teaching and learning, and recognition of contribution to College's Open Educational (OER) Initiative, John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State (2007)
  • G. Montgomery and Marion Mitchell Award for Innovative Teaching in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. This award is to "recognize faculty of the College who use innovative teaching techniques in their courses." Penn State (2007)
  • e-Education Faculty Fellowship in recognition of contributions to online teaching and learning, and participation in University's Blended Learning Initiative, John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State (2006)
  • Best Paper Award, 1st Place in the Best paper Award Competition, Energy Conversion and Conservation Division, American Society for Engineering Education, Annual Conference and Exposition, Chicago, IL, June 18-21, 2006 (2006)
  • Best Presentation Award, 2nd International Congress on Chemistry and Environment, Organized by International Research Journal for Chemistry and Environment, December 24-26, 2005, Indore, India (2005)
  • Best Paper Award, 2nd Place in the Best Paper Award Competition, Energy Conversion and Conservation Division, American Society for Engineering Education, Annual Conference and Exposition, Portland, OR (2005)
  • George Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, University-wide Award named after Penn State's seventh president, was established in 1989 as a continuation of the AMOCO Foundation Award. It honors excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level, Penn State University (2005)
  • Best Paper Award, 2nd Place in the Best Paper Award Competition, Energy Conversion and Conservation Division, American Society for Engineering Education, Annual Conference and Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah (2004)
  • e-Education Faculty Fellowship in recognition of contributions to e-education, John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State (2004)
  • ANGEL Course Contest Award for the development of Best Science course, EGEE 102: Energy Conservation for Environmental Protection. Nominated by the students and selected by Teaching and Learning with Technology, Penn State University (2004)
  • e-Education Faculty Fellowship in recognition of contributions to e-education, John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State (2003)
  • Matthew J. and Anne C. Wilson Award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University (2003)
  • Innovator Incentive Award, Penn State Research Foundation (2002)
  • Outstanding Technical Paper Award, Thirteenth Annual International Pittsburgh Coal Conference, Center for Energy Research, School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh (1996)
  • Outstanding Service Award, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University (1995)
  • "Honorable Mention" Award (cash prize), Graduate Research Exhibition, Penn State (1990)