Research Interests and Projects




General Area 

Biomass Energy, Micro-nano Materials, Hydrogen Storage and Supercritical Fluid Engineering
Interests and Projects 
1. Processing of natural materials 
► Refining essential oil with countercurrent supercritical CO2 fractionation 
(in cooperation with Shiono Flavor Co. Ltd., Osaka Japan)
 ► Producing Natural Tocopherols (vitamin E) and Sterols by supercritical CO2 fractionation 
(in cooperation with Prof. Xiaolin Ding, Jiangnan Univ., China; Prof. Motonobu Goto, Kumamoto Univ., Japan; and Wuhan Kaidi Fine Chemical Co. Ltd., China)
2. Biomass updating technology 
► Producing biodiesel (fatty acid methyl esters) with supercritical methanol
(Cooperator: Prof. Motonobu Goto, Nagoya Univ. Japan)
3. Supercritical fluids in combination with high electric field 
► High Pressure gases - assisted Electrospinning for Producing Polymer Nanofibers 
(supported by Alexander von Humboldt foundation, Germany, Cooperator: Prof. Wolfgang Arlt, Erlangen-Nuremberg Univ., Germany) 
 ► Generation and Application of Non-thermal Plasma in Supercritical CO
(supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and 21st century Center of Excellence (COE) project of ‘Pulse Power Science and Its Application’, Japan)
4. Fundamental research on phase equilibrium  
Binary and ternary phase behavior of biodiesel and tocopherols in supercritical methanol 
(Cooperators: Prof. Motonobu Goto, Nagoya Univ.; Dr. Yusuke Shimoyama and Prof. Yoshio Iwai, Kyushu Univ. Japan 
► Binary and ternary phase behavior of methyl oleate and tocopherols in supercritical CO2 
(Cooperators: Prof. Xiaolin Ding, Jiangnan Univ., China; Prof. Zhi Yun, Nanjing Univ. of Tech., China; and Prof. Motonobu Goto, Nagoya Univ. Japan) 
 ► Measurement and calculation for the breakdown voltage under supercritical fluids
(Cooperators: Prof. Motonobu Goto, Nagoya Univ., Japan; Prof. Chaohai Zhang, Harbin Inst. of Tech., China)  
5. Novel hydrogen storage technology with new organic liquid
 Insight into the adsorption and decomposition mechanism of hydrogen-rich molecules on the transition metal surfaces and investigation on hydrogen storage technology with new organic liquid.
Among the new energy resources, hydrogen energy has been considered the ideal energy due to its advantages, such as being rich in quantity, pollution-free, renewable, higher energy density and so on. As hydrogen-rich compounds (CH4, NH3, H2O, H2S, CH3OH, CH3CH2OH), the higher hydrogen carrying capacity has made them more attractive to the development of hydrogen economy. Direct catalytic decomposition is a promising process for production of carbon monoxide-free hydrogen. However, many basic questions such as the adsorption geometries and dissociation pathways are not completely clarified experimentally. The difficulty in experiments may be attributed to the generally fast kinetics of dissociation on metal surfaces. Consequently, this impedes detailed structural and mechanistic elucidation of the adsorption and dissociation process. Recently, theoretical computation methods have become a powerful research tool for understanding the chemical reactions at the molecular level. Armed with these new tools, many researchers have refocused on the transition metal surfaces as a catalyst for dehydrogenation. Especially, periodic DFT calculations using the slab model have become a powerful approach to study the adsorption of atoms and small molecules on the metal surfaces. The objective of my work is to present first-principles density functional theory calculations of the adsorption and decomposition pathway on the metal surfaces. In addition, all elementary reactions that comprise the process of the conversion of reactants to products and intervening transition states and reaction energies are determined.
 N-ethylcarbazole is found to be particularly interesting with a hydrogen storage density of 5.8 wt%, also, the melting point is 69 and the boiling point is higher than 300. It could be fully hydrogenated catalytically under mild ambient conditions, besides, the reaction of dehydrogenation could occur at lower temperature, with the enthalpy of 53 kJ/ mol per mole H2. My research target is as follows:
(1) To design the new catalysts for the hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions with the performance of high activity, selectivity and stability.
(2) To apply the ionic liquid in the hydrogenation/dehydrogenation process of N-ethylcarbazole as co-catalyst or “green” solvent.
(3) To simulate and calculate the geometric configuration and energy of molecule, the transition state, activation energy and the reaction mechanism.
6. The upgrading of heavy oils and the key technology based on supercritical fluid 
World crude oil is becoming heavy seriously. The viscosity is increasing and the content of heteroatoms is higher. The heavy oils are putting forward higher requirements for the conventional processing technology. Supercritical methanol has excellent transport property and reactivity.  Supercritical methanol has a good solubility to the macromolecular organics, as polymers and has been widely applied in the extraction, materials processing and plastic degradation, etc. In the chemical reaction study, supercritical methanol is used for organic synthesis and biomass processing. In the supercritical methanol, heavy oils can be modified without catalysts and external hydrogen. The process can promote the yield of light fractions and suppress the coke formation. Supercritical methanol has good applicability to different kinds of crude oil.

Research contents: to study the dynamic properties of heavy oils cracking in supercritical methanol, explore the mechanism of methanol during the cracking process.