Research scholar Sonal Thengane defended his PhD thesis successfully on June 20, 2016. He is the 12th student from the Academy to do so this year, and the 40th overall. Sonal's project is titled, 'A study of Nitric Oxide and Hydrogen Production based on Chemical Looping', and he worked under the supervision of Prof. Santanu Bandopadhyay & Prof. Sagar Mitra from IIT Bombay, Prof. Andrew Hoadley & Prof. Sankar Bhattacharya from Monash University, and Dr. Greg Rigby from Orica.
Sonal's research work proposes a chemical looping-based process for production of nitric oxide and hydrogen by focussing on the reaction of ammonia with different metal oxides.
He says, "Hydrogen is considered as the fuel of the future with several potential benefits while nitric oxide is a major intermediate in the production of nitric acid which has extended applications. Nitric oxide also has many medical and pharmaceutical applications. The conventional, effective processes are fossil fuel-based and might face challenges in the future because of depletion of fossil resources and atmospheric emissions".
During his research, Sonal ascertained that the best renewable technology was water splitting by a chemical looping approach. The approach also kept in mind the perspective of selecting a cost-effective environmentally benign technology for production of both chemicals.
The objective of his work was to carry out thermodynamic and experimental studies of the chemical looping-based processes to produce nitric oxide and hydrogen.
Sonal's supervisors were elated after his successful viva defence.
Prof. Hoadley said, "I am proud of Sonal. The amount of work he managed to finish in his 12 months in Monash is incredible.'
Prof. Santanu described his presentation as "very good" and his work as "excellent", while Prof. Sankar remarked, "A well-deserved doctorate for Sonal".
Sonal is now pursuing his Post-doctoral studies in the Tata Centre at IIT Bombay.
We wish him well!