I was born on 24th September 1996 in Chennai, India. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from SASTRA University, Thanjavur, India and spent 6 months as a student research scholar in the Multifunctional Material Systems Group at New York University where I worked on my thesis on “Hydrogel-based photocatalytic reactors for light-driven water treatment” under the guidance of Dr. Miguel Modestino.
Following this, I worked for a year at the Polymer Engineering and Colloidal Sciences Lab at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India as a Project Associate under Prof. Abhijit Deshpande and Dr. Basavaraja M. Gurappa on an industry funded project understanding wax-wall interactions in petroleum pipelines from a flow assurance perspective.
In August 2019, I joined the Mesoscale Chemical Systems (MCS) group to work on my PhD topic “Continuous sensing and flow with bubbles” under the guidance of Dr. Fernandez Rivas, Dr. Philip Hofmann (TU/e) and Prof. Dr. Gardeniers. The project, which is a part of the Netherlands Centre for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion (MCEC), aims to improve the current state of understanding of hydrogen bubble generation and transport in photoelectrochemical systems under continuous flow conditions. This will help us control and optimize bubble generation paving the way for more efficient solar hydrogen generators in the future.
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Continuous sensing and flow with bubbles
The production of solar fuels, among which hydrogen gas, has gained much attention in the last decade. However, the promised ideal of powering disparate devices using sunlight with zero-emissions still faces scientific and technological challenges. Even with the recent development of new materials and device architectures, there is a knowledge gap that needs to be covered on the role of H2 (and O2) bubble generation and transport, specifically in continuous flow systems.
To achieve an efficient fuel production, it is not sufficient to locally control where gas bubbles are formed in stationary conditions. Hence, this project is aimed at gaining new fundamental insight in two challenging directions: (i) the processes and parameters associated with hydrogen bubble generation and transport under continuous flow conditions in novel and smart electrode designs, (ii) uncover new analytical concepts to measure dynamic physicochemical changes in the vicinity of bubble evolution sites. Both challenges have in common an unprecedented temporal and spatial resolution that is in high demand for designing and testing the solar fuel generators of the future.