Bindra receiving DOE grant to explore microreactor end-use in hydrogen and fertilizer production
Monday, Oct. 4, 2021
MANHATTAN — Hitesh Bindra, Steve Hsu keystone research scholar and associate professor in the Alan Levin Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Kansas State University, will receive a nearly $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore the use of micro-scale nuclear reactors in the production of hydrogen from agricultural waste, which could aid in fertilizer production.
Bindra will lead the three-year project, conducting research on "Direct heating of chemical catalysts for hydrogen and fertilizer production using Microreactors," alongside co-principal investigator Melanie Derby, associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering at K-State and collaborator Caleb Brooks from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
The project will focus on developing a new approach to directly transfer heat from microreactors to solid catalytic carriers, as opposed to traditional approaches that use liquid or gas to process heat transfer fluid. The project aims to assess the feasibility of this process while also improving the deployment potential of microreactors in rural and agricultural communities.
"With this novel design feature, microreactors can provide clean high-temperature energy to generate hydrogen from agricultural waste and also aid in fertilizer production," Bindra said. "The clean hydrogen and fertilizers produced by processing agricultural waste can be used to achieve sustainable agriculture practices."
The project team will be advised by a separately funded team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and industry representatives from Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation and DuPont Inc.
The project will also explore the potential for large-scale collaboration opportunities between the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture to demonstrate microreactor technology at K-State.