University of Texas at Arlington

Meeting the energy needs of developing countries is a concern addressed in engineering schools all over the United States. Though many young engineers learn about these unique demands, few have the opportunity to witness them firsthand. Deval Pandya is one of those few.

Pandya was first exposed to the science behind sustainable energy as an undergraduate student at Sardar Patel University in western India. After relocating to North Texas in 2008 to attend the University of Texas at Arlington, Pandya started working on biodiesel-specific projects under the guidance of Dr. Brian Dennis, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UTA. Pandya’s thesis focused on computational simulation for micro particle separator. Dr. Dennis and another PhD student carried out experimental work on micro reactors for biodiesel, discovering a process that accelerates the chemical reaction necessary to create biodiesel. This model has received acclaim for its efficiency and relative simplicity.

Now pursuing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at UTA, Pandya is working on developing computational simulations of the biodiesel production process in order to devise more cost-effective means of manufacturing the fuel.

“I strongly feel that computational simulations can further cut down the research costs in this area and help us develop more efficient processes,” Pandya said.

In 2011, Pandya was awarded a scholarship to attend the World Energy Engineering Conference in Chicago, and in 2012 he attended the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla., as a Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel Fellow. At the National Biodiesel Conference, Pandya and his mentor Dr. Dennis gave an invited poster presentation entitled “Non-isothermal modeling of transesterification and saponification process for biodiesel production in a tubular microreactor.”

As a result of his impressive research, academic accomplishments and unique perspective on sustainable energy, Pandya was named a co-chair of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel in 2012.

“Being a co-chair of the NGSB will not only help me spread awareness about biodiesel, but also expose me to cutting-edge development and enhance my knowledge in the field,” he said. Pandya looks forward to collaborating with other young scientists and learning more about the future of biodiesel production while serving as a leader of the Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel.

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