The Combustion and Catalysis Lab is directed by Professor Marco J. Castaldi. The main focus is the thermal and catalytic conversion of carbon based material to desired products. For example, municipal solid waste and biomass to synthetic fuels, liquid fuels to hydrogen and greenhouse gases (carbon-based) to fuels.
Recently, Zachary Dorazio, of the 5th grade, visited CCL to answer his question, “Can we turn leaves into biofuels?” Zack is the son of CCL Alumnus, Dr. Lucas Dorazio who received his Ph.D. in 2008 and is currently the lead of the Gasoil Technologies and Refinery Catalyst R&D Team at BASF. CCL routinely hosts high school students to conduct research, and a few have made it to the semi-finals for competitions such as the Intel and Westinghouse Awards. This is the first time we had an elementary school student come to CCL to obtain answers to some very complex questions that will surely be answered in the future. It is clear Zach is well on his way to making a positive impact in a critical area of engineering and science, and the CCL team is sure he deserves an A+ on his project! We look forward to hopefully seeing Zach during his high school years when he undertakes even more forward looking research.
In a recent climate piece published by CNBC, journalist Katie Schoolov quotes Marco J. Castaldi’s insights on the benefits of waste to energy in solving America’s waste challenges. Read the article and watch the broadcast here to learn more about the work Combustion and Catalysis Lab members are doing to support healthy debate in the climate space while relying on rigorous, scientific analyses.
CCL members had the opportunity to tour Westchester’s Material Recovery Facility on April 6, 2022 where they learned about the recycling efforts underway in one of New York City’s neighboring communities. Students and researchers were able to view machinery in action as it separated, sorted, and prepared materials to be sold to third-party manufacturers. The facility staff were highly knowledgeable, and everyone in attendance found the experience incredibly enriching. Many thanks to Lou, George, and Melissa for their hospitality and expertise!
Published on Syracuse.com with headline “Chemical engineer: Critics mischaracterize science behind advanced recycling”, Dr. Marco Castaldi’s recent letter to the editor responds to an op-ed article published therein which inaccurately described the processes employed in advanced recycling technologies as ‘burning’. The op-ed, authored by Judith Enck and Tok M. Oyewole, is headlined ‘Plastic burning “has no place in climate-forward NY”‘, inaccurately suggesting that the technology discussed therein, advanced recycling, involves the combustion of plastics. In addition to the absence of plastics combustion, the characterization of advanced recycling as a technology that should be banned from climate-conscious waste management strategies is also unsubstantiated by the most recent EPA analyses. Rather, there is consensus among sustainability experts performing detailed life cycle analyses that at present, advanced recycling should play a role in crafting of a balanced portfolio of solutions. That is, the sustainable waste hierarchy cannot be fully engaged without a technology for processing hard-to-recycle plastics such as flexible pouches, films, and tubes, and this is the primary focus of advanced recycling techniques.
CCL alumni Jeffrey LeBlanc published his work done with Devin Peck in Power Magazine. The article is titled Perspectives on Energy Recovery from U.S. Plastic Waste. While completing his PhD, Jeff LeBlanc worked in CCL studying pyrolysis of met coal to coke to understand the impact of secondary reactions during the coking process. Jeff came to CCL from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In CCL, Jeff worked for 4 years to perform experiments and eventually complete his thesis defense. Congratulations on your continued success after leaving CCL, Jeff LeBlanc!
The Earth Engineering Center and WTERT-USA have appointed Dr. Snehesh S. Ail to the position of Associate Director. Dr. Ail will manage the industry partnered projects at EEC related to combustion and catalysis research, bio-fuels characterization, and innovative waste management strategies. Dr. Ail is a post-doctoral research associate in the Combustion and Catalysis Laboratory at the Department of Chemical Engineering, and has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor teaching Chemical Engineering Design.
Dr. Ail has authored 20 peer-reviewed research articles and conference papers, and a patent related to catalyst synthesis. Prior to joining CCNY, Dr. Ail worked at the Free University of Bolzano, Italy, where he focused on the design of bio-to-liquids (BTL) systems, biomass-CO2 co-gasification, and development of catalysts for Fischer Tropsch reactions.
CCL group member Tasnuva Moutushi presented her work titled “Investigation of Reactions Occurring in Municipal Solid Waste Residues” at the 8th International Conference on Engineering for Waste and Biomass Valorisation in virtual mode on May 31 – June 4, 2021. The presentations in this conference were video-recorded and sent in advance of the conference due to the spread of timezones over which presenters were participating from. Tasnuva’s presentation can be viewed here.
CCL group member Snehesh Ail presented his work titled “Investigating Environmental Impact of Reuse of Consumer Goods in New York City” at the 8th International Conference on Engineering for Waste and Biomass Valorisation in virtual mode on May 31 – June 4, 2021. The presentations in this conference were video-recorded and sent in advance of the conference due to the spread of timezones over which presenters were participating from. Snehesh’s presentation can be viewed here.
CCL alum Megan Webster will begin working at Horiba Scientific as a Product Engineer in Piscataway, NJ. Megan completed her doctorate from the City College of New York in 2019. Megan spent her time at CCL investigating the optoelectronic properties of ultrasmall quantum dots for light harvesting applications. Megan’s experience with CCL will allow her to rapidly adapt to her new role which requires designing custom spectrometers. Congratulations and good luck, Megan!