University of California San Diego,
Davis and Berkeley – Top research scientists from each of these Universities are working at the Woodland Biomass Research Center on innovative biomass utilization methods, improve on our advanced emissions systems and develop the next generation of biomass to biofuels technologies.
Department of Energy – The US Governmental department whose mission is to advance energy technology and promote related innovation in the United States is one of our important partners.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory – A part of the US Department of Energy for renewable energy and energy efficiency research, development and deployment.
California Energy Commission – A state agency leading the nation on recycling and waste reduction and a leader in protecting the environment.
CalRecycle - A California state agency that spearheads recycling and waste reduction efforts.
EnXco - Develops, builds, operates and manages state-of-the-art renewable energy projects throughout North America.
Prof. Robert Cattolica, UCSD
The primary architect of the cooperative collaboration between the University of California and West Biofuels is Prof. Robert Cattolica. Dr. Cattolica is Professor of Engineering Physics Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Associate Director of the Jacobs Schools' Center for Energy Research at the University of California, San Diego. He is a renowned expert in laser and electron beam spectroscopic diagnostics and application of these measurement technologies to combustion, gasification, and gas reforming.
Prof. Cattolica has received numerous awards and honors throughout his research and teaching career. He earned his Ph. D. in Engineering Sciences in 1972, his M.S in Mechanical Engineering in 1968, and his B.S. (Highest Honors) in Mechanical Engineering all from the University of California at Berkeley.
Prof. Bryan M. Jenkins, UCD
A key research partner at Woodland Biomass Research Center is Dr. Bryan Jenkins who works with the scientists and engineers to optimize the biomass-to-energy systems at the center. In his role at the university, Prof. Jenkins teaches and conducts research in the areas of energy and power, with emphasis on biomass and other renewable resources. His expertise consists of energy systems and power and energy conversion, including renewable fuels, system analysis and optimization, fuel cells, engines, electric machines, fluid power, cogeneration, and other technologies. He is a recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the US Department of Energy for exceptional contributions to the development of bioenergy. Prof. Jenkins was the founding Executive Director of the California Biomass Collaborative, a joint industry, government, environmental, and academic coordinating organization for biomass technology and policy in California.
Professor Jenkins earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from University of California, Davis and his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Maryland.
Prof. Richard Herz, UCSD
Modeling of engineering systems is the role of Prof. Richard Herz and his team. They have been developing engineering modeling of the mass and energy flows in the multi-stage chemical processes being developed by West Biofuels. Professor Herz teaches and conducts research in the areas of chemical reaction engineering, heterogeneous catalysis, and chemical process simulation and design in the Chemical Engineering Program and Department of Nanoengineering at the University of California at San Diego.
Professor Herz earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Denver.
Dr. Anjani K. Didwania, Research Scientist, UCSD
Dr. Anjani Didwania collaborates on the project with modeling of fluidized bed physics on the process being developed by West Biofuels. Dr. Didwania has over thirty years of experience in research and development of fluidization, multiphase flows, granular and particulate flow mechanics with applications to chemical engineering reactor applications. He has developed software algorithms and packages for dynamic simulations of fluidized beds, bubbly flows and granular flows. He has also designed many fluidized bed units and has been a consultant to chemical and refinery industries with fluidized bed units of large capacity typically 6.0-10.0 MMTPA. Dr. Didwania holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering from Stanford University.
Dr. Reinhard Seiser, Research Scientist, UCSD
Dr. Reinhard Seiser conducts research on gasification and combustion of biofuels at the Woodland Biomass Research Center. He also sets up diagnostic systems and instruments for monitoring combustion, gasification, and synthesis reactions at the center. After his graduation, Dr. Seiser joined UCSD as a Postgraduate Researcher and in 2001 as Assistant Project Scientist. During this time he worked on various combustion problems including liquid, gaseous fuels, and solid and gaseous extinguishing agents. He designed several experimental setups for measuring ignition, extinction, and pollutant species in laminar flames. Dr. Seiser’s contributions to the scientific community include numerous experimental data on premixed and non-premixed flames, which have been used to improve chemical-kinetic models of hydrocarbon fuels. Further, the interaction of flow and chemistry has been a centerpiece of his research, and his publications have explained the influence of strain on ignition and partially premixing on extinction of flames.
Dr. Seiser received his MS in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University Graz, Austria, in 1995. His thesis and work projects related to the analysis and layout of a commercial fluidized bed dryer and a biomass combustion facility. In 2000, Dr. Seiser graduated with a Doctoral Degree in Chemical Engineering with highest honors from the Technical University Graz.
Dr. Chang-Hsien Liao, Postdoctoral Associate, UCD
Dr. Chang-Hsien Liao develops control systems and performs energy analysis on equipment being developed in cooperation with West Biofuels at the Woodland Biomass Research Center. Dr. Liao participates in high-level design and development of novel equipment for energy production from biomass and leads the development of control systems. He helps design all industrial experiments and carries out industrial research as needed to support the research efforts.
Dr. Liao has expertise in catalysis and heat and mass transfer. He earned a Ph.D. from University of California, Davis in Mechanical Engineering.
Dr. Chethan K. Archarya, Postdoctoral Associate, UCSD
Dr. Acharya is currently working on catalytically cleaning gases produced from biomass gasification into syngas, which is used for the synthesis of mixed alcohols. Dr. Acharya has conducted various characterization studies such as temperature programmed reduction and surface area measurement on inexpensive catalysts on a lab-scale, which is critical in understanding the performance of the catalysts under reaction conditions. These results are also used to effectively pretreat the catalysts before the reactions are carried out, which is an important step in a catalytic process. The catalysts that are being researched on a lab-scale by Dr. Acharya will be implemented in a pilot scale biomass gasification plant at the Woodland Biomass Research Center operated by West Biofuels.