Foto del docente

Davide Pinelli

Associate Professor

Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering

Academic discipline: ING-IND/25 Chemical Plants

Research

Keywords: Production of organic compounds from organic industrial wates Production of biogas from organic industrial wates Fermentors and gas-liquid reactors Bioremediation of ground and waste water Bioremediation of contaminated sites Mass transfer in gas-liquid systems Biodiesel reactors

1) Study and development of processes for the bioproduction of organic compounds for the chemical industry and the biogas production (methane and hydrogen) from food industry wastes and other organic wastes using either suspended or attached biomass.

2) Separation and recovery of phenolic compounds (polyphenols) from food industry wastes and other organic wastes by adsorption.

3) Characterization of gas-liquid reactors and fermenters mechanically agitated and of mixing systems; modelling of mass transfer.

4) Cometabolic and direct biodegradation of chlorinated and non-chlorinated organic compounds in soils, groundwater and industrial wastewaters.

5) Biological decontamination (bioremediation) of soils contaminated with aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons.

6) Development of novel reactors and processes for the production of biodiesel.

5) Modelling of bioreactors and kinetic studies of fermentation.

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1) Study and development of processes for the bioproduction of organic compounds for the chemical industry and the biogas production (methane and hydrogen) from food industry wastes and other organic wastes using either suspended or attached biomass. The goals of this research line are: i) the development of novel bioreactor configurations, with particular emphasis on attached-growth bioreactors; ii) the development of chemical and enzymatic pre-treatments of ligno-cellulosic substrates; and iii) the kinetic and fluid-dynamic modeling of the process.

2) Separation and recovery of phenolic compounds (polyphenols) from food industry wastes and other organic wastes by adsorption with particular emphasis on the testing of innovative resins and on the technical and economic optimization of the process and on the process simulation.

3) Characterization of gas-liquid reactors and fermenters mechanically agitated and of mixing systems; modelling of mass transfer. This line of research concerns the analysis of the behavior of mechanically stirred apparatuses (mainly reactors with high aspect ratio, stirred with multiple agitators of various types) suitable for gas-liquid systems (widely used in the chemical and process as fermenters and bioreactors as well as chemical reactors for hydrogenation, oxidation, chlorination, etc.). The research deals with the characterization of the liquid phase (in the presence of gas), the gas phase and the mass transfer between them. In particular, the following aspects are studied: fluid-dynamic regimes, the state of mixing of the liquid, power dissipation in the presence of the gaseous phase, gas hold-up, dispersion and mixing state of the gas, the role of the fluid-dynamic aspects on the mass transfer coefficients. The research comprises experimental investigations, correlations of experimental data, modelling the behavior of the two fluid phases with phenomenological models. The experimental techniques used, developed specifically for these objectives, include dynamic analysis applied to each of the two phases and measurements of mass transfer coefficients.

4) Cometabolic and direct biodegradation of chlorinated and non-chlorinated organic compounds in soils, groundwater and industrial wastewaters. This research is aimed at the selection of specific bacterial strains and consortia of bacterial strains for the direct or co-metabolic, aerobic or anaerobic, biodegradation of chlorinated solvents. The rate of degradation are evaluated using different types of reactors: liquid-gas reactor, the reactor gas-solid-liquid (slurry), solid-liquid reactors containing a biofilm supported on a porous matrix. Kinetic models are studied for aerobic and anaerobic co-metabolism, considering the phenomena of inhibition between the primary substrate and cometabolic substrate and possible toxicity exerted by the chlorinated solvents. Finally, the scale-up from batch reactors of small size (0.1 L) to a reactor pilot flow volume indicative of some tens of liters is studied. The studies are conducted with contaminants and conditions (eg., high concentrations, the simultaneous presence of many organic contaminants) typically found in industrial waste water contaminated by chlorinated solvents.

5) Biological decontamination (bioremediation) of soils contaminated with aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons. This research deals with the biological decontamination of soils contaminated with complex mixtures of hydrocarbons (kerosene, diesel fuel, mineral oils, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). In particular, a protocol was developed to assess the feasibility of an in-situ treatment of bioremediation by means of laboratory tests. This protocol comprises: the estimate of the expected residual concentrations, the need for macro-and micro-nutrients and evaluation of oxygen mass transfer phenomena in soils having different particle sizes. Studies also include an assessment of the effectiveness of treatments of inoculation of microbial consortia (bioaugmentation) in pilot reactors simulating unsaturated portions of aquifers.

6) Development of novel reactors and processes for the production of biodiesel. Innovative configurations and reactors are studied for reducing energy consumption. This line of research involves the development of innovative solutions for the biodiesel production process, in particular: 1) development of a process in heterogeneous catalysis (currently the process utilizes a base catalysis in the homogeneous phase), 2) development of reactors with less power consumption. The main purpose of this research is to identify reactor types and operating conditions which allow on one hand a reduction of production costs, on the other a reduction of the energy consumed to produce biodiesel (energy per kg of product). In the context of this line of research is being studied the use of suitable devices for the production and maintenance of the dispersion of the alcoholic phase into the oil phase. The goal is the optimization of a reactor of this type and the comparison of the performances with those obtained with a conventional mechanically agitated reactor.

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