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Pengchao Hao

Penchao HaoCooperating Doctoral Program: Chemistry

EITS Track: Environmental Toxicology

Education: B.S. Chemistry, Zhengzhou University

Research Interests:
We are interested in converting biomass to fuels (hydrocarbons) by fast pyrolysis and upgrading of the resulting liquid “bio-oil” to greener and less toxic fuels by ElectroCatalytic Hydrogenation (ECH). Bio-oil contains many toxic compounds (aldehydes, furans, phenols), which ECH can reduce to less harmful species (alcohols, hydrocarbons). At the same time the energy density of bio-oil is increased via hydrogenation and deoxygenation. More specifically, lignin models (monomers, dimers) were synthesized and studied by direct ECH, and by fast pyrolysis followed by ECH. The catalyst, Raney Nickel, is based on earth abundant elements, and reduces lignin models under mild conditions (80 degrees C, pH=8, aqueous solution). Products of pyrolysis are analyzed by NMR, GC-MS, LC-MS and compared with ECH upgrading products. The toxicity of the pyrolysis products and ECH upgrading products will be compared to study the efficiency for ECH to detoxify bio-oil and to increase its energy density.

Major Professor: James (Ned) Jackson, Chemistry