Dr. Nikhil M. Patel
POSITION: Research Engineer

Dr. Nikhil M. Patel is a Research Engineer and Lead for Distributed Energy Technologies at the EERC, with 20 years of experience in the combustion and gasification of biomass, coal, and unconventional, difficult-to-burn liquid and solid industrial wastes. His work at the EERC focuses on inventing and implementing innovative zero-effluent discharge gasification processes that can achieve seamless integration with technologies for distributed production of energy and liquid fuels through indirect liquefaction. He leads a design, construction, and project management team responsible for implementing gasification-based demonstration and commercialization projects. Dr. Patel currently leads an effort to design, develop, and deploy a mobile truck-mounted biomass-to-liquid production system and stationary poultry waste, railroad ties, and forestry waste products to energy and by-product recovery technologies for commercial clients. These projects utilize an advanced multifuel gasification process invented by him.

Dr. Patel's other interests include low-pressure Fischer-Tropsch liquid production; development of microgasification-based integrated processes for recycling organic wastes for life support applications in space and isolated systems; integrated gasification-fuel cell energy and fuel production system development; gasification of highly energetic fuels; direct utilization of hydrocarbon and hydrocarbon biomass-derived fuels in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and underlying chemical, electrochemical, and hydrodynamic processes; development of SOFC, MCFC (molten carbonate fuel cell), and PEFC (polymer electrolyte fuel cell) or PEM (polymer electrolyte membrane) hybrid systems for distributed energy generation for future home, automobile, and battlefield applications and space robotics; innovative wind turbines; combustion studies including single-droplet and spray combustion of hydrocarbon and biomass waste fuels; catalytic combustion, high-temperature air combustion, pulse combustion, combustion control, and combustor design for propulsion and energy generation, carbon nanotube synthesis, combustion modeling, and combustion diagnostics using nonintrusive techniques; gas turbine and internal combustion (IC) engine emission formation and control and vegetable oil combustion in IC engines; solid and liquid rocket and ramjet propulsion systems; and Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquids.

Dr. Patel received his Ph.D. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, and his M.S. and B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Baroda, Baroda, India.