Areas of Expertise (5)
Waste to Energy
Dr. Reza earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from University of Nevada, Reno. He was appointed as research scientist in Liebniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering in Potsdam, Germany.
Following stints at University of Nevada, Reno and Ohio University, Dr. Reza came to Florida Tech in August 2019.
His research, which involves wastes to biofuels and materials, has been funded by National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, American Chemical Society, and other state and federal agencies.
It falls into three main categories:
Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC): In this process, wet biomass (e.g., garbage, food waste, animal waste, sewage sludge, mixed plastics) are treated at high temperature and high pressure. Water being a reaction medium for HTC is beneficial as the wet biomass could be utilized without expensive drying. Depending on process conditions and catalysts, HTC process yields solid fuel (hydrochar), liquid fuel (biocrude) and renewable natural gas (methane). Solid hydrochar could also be activated for energy storage and use to adsorb contaminants from water.
Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES): This is a new class of solvents targeted for specific applications including but not limited to BTX from naphtha, platform chemicals from HTC process water, clean-up oil spills, and wastewater treatment from power plants.
Pyrolysis and Torrefaction: Dry biomass could be converted to biochar, solid fuel or liquid biocrude at high temperature in inert atmosphere. Torrefaction occurs at 200-350 C, where volatile materials from biomass leaves an energy dense solid fuel. Meanwhile, pyrolysis occurs at 350-650 C, where a carbon-rich porous biochar formed. Biochar can be used as carbon sequestration, soil amendment, and slow-release fertilizer.
The Reza research group promotes diversity and practices laboratory safety.
Media Appearances (3)
Florida Tech’s Dr. Toufiq Reza: Turning ‘Waste’ into ‘Resources’ and How You Can Help
Space Coast Daily
"In our research group, we believe “wastes” are 'resources.' With proper technologies, they can be upcycled into value-added products. With the world’s limited resources, we need to close “waste loops” to leave a better world for future generations." Toufiq Reza is an assistant professor in the biomedical and chemical engineering and sciences department and is in the top 2% of researchers in the world, according to the 2021 Stanford Report. His research focuses on transforming waste into energy and materials.
From septic to sustainable: A potential new source of fertilizer
For this study, waste is converted into fertilizer through a high temperature, high-pressure process called hydrothermal carbonization (HTC). HTC is a thermochemical conversion technique that can transform wet biomass into energy and chemicals without pre-drying. So far, the process has yielded material that shows potential in facilitating the growth of non-edible crops, though Reza noted more testing needs to be done to see if the fertilizer could be used for growing food. "The idea is human sewage has pathogens, and we have to kill and sterilize them," Reza said. "If we do high temperature, high pressure, many of these pharmaceuticals in the waste, such as antibiotics and active ingredients of birth control pills, will be degraded."
Florida Tech’s Toufiq Reza Receives Grant to Improve Millions of Lives in Bangladesh
Space Coast Daily
For Reza, helping Bangladesh with future energy demands is an exciting and personal opportunity. “This USAID project is a very timely project, as it allows me to utilize my knowledge to resolve the waste-to-energy challenge of Bangladesh,” he said. “This project also allows me to collaborate with academia, industries, regulatory agencies, and governmental sectors of Bangladesh. It would be amazing and satisfying to see that our technology has been adopted and used in Bangladesh. I could then truly believe that I have finally given something back to my country.”
Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering: Postdoc 2014
University of Nevada: Ph.D., Chemical Engineering 2013
University of Nevada: M.S., Chemical Engineering 2011
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology: B.S., Chemical Engineering 2008
Selected Articles (3)
Techno-economic assessment of superactivated hydrochar production by KOH impregnation compared to direct chemical activationBiomass Conversion and Biorefinery
Effects of process liquid recirculation on material properties of hydrochar and corresponding adsorption of cationic dyeJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Towards solvothermal upcycling of mixed plastic wastes: Depolymerization pathways of waste plastics in sub- and supercritical tolueneEnergy Conversion and Management: X
- Bangladesh Student Association, Nevada : Secretary
- Differential Fee Committee, College of Engineering, UNR : Graduate Representative
- American Chemical Society : Senior Member
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers : Senior Member
- American Society of Agricultural and Biological Society : Member
American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS-PRF) Award (professional)
2019 – American Chemical Society
Marvan E. and Ann D. White Research Award (professional)
2019 – Russ College of Engineering, Ohio University
Innovation Strategy Award (professional)
2016 and 2017 – Ohio University
Stocker Faculty Enrichment Award (professional)
2016, 2017 and 2018 – Ohio University
Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher (professional)
2013 – Governor, State of Nevada
Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher Award (professional)
2013 – UNR
Outstanding International Student (professional)
2012 – College of Engineering, UNR