Amit Kumar's research interests, in significant part, are driven by his interest in the area of mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. One major problem that mankind faces is climate change and one of the main reasons for it is the unrestrained large-scale emission of greenhouse gases. There is little data on the value of GHG credits required for renewable energy technologies to be competitive with fossil fuel energy. Dr. Kumar's research is an effort to fill this gap.
Biomass energy systems
Amit Kumar's interest is in the techno-economic assessment of biomass energy technologies. Different biomass energy technologies can be compared based on the GHG mitigation potential and the value of GHG credits through techno-economic models. Current work specifically includes biomass-based energy systems such as direct combustion, gasification, fermentation, and pyrolysis. Dr. Kumar is also interested in other renewable energy technologies and their comparison.
Large-scale biomass transport
Pipeline transport of biomass is an innovative way of transporting biomass as the materials are aggregated. Biorefineries can compete with existing refineries at scales similar to existing oil refineries. Large-scale biorefineries cannot rely on conventional transportation modes due to economic and congestion issues. Amit Kumar's current research focuses on experimental work on the development and demonstration of pipeline transport of biomass. This work includes characterizing the rheology of various biomass slurries (straw, switchgrass, etc.).
Research labs are essential to the scientific process. Amit Kumar runs two labs at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada:
Sustainable energy research lab
The Sustainable Energy Research Laboratory (SERL) is used to assess both conventional and non-conventional energy systems. In this laboratory, energy forecasting and planning models are developed. Techno-economic assessment of energy systems are also conducted. The work also includes energy and emission assessment of different energy conversion pathways. Biomass conversion systems including bioenergy and biofuels production is a key area of research carried out in this laboratory.
Large-scale fluids lab
This laboratory is set up to experimentally study the transport of biomass by pipeline in the form of a slurry. The lab-scale pipeline is used to study the rheological properties of different biomass slurries including straw, corn stover, and wood chips. This laboratory was set up with the support from NSERC and Alberta Innovates - Bio Solutions.