Dr. McKenzie P. Kohn

Contact

    • Education and Experience:
      • Ph.D. Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University, Adviser: Marco J. Castaldi (2012)
      • M.S. Earth and Environmental Engineering, Columbia University (2009)
      • B.S. Biological Resources Engineering, University of Maryland College Park (2007)
      • Intern, Joint Global Change Research Institute (2005-2007)
      • Biological Science Aid, USDA, Plant Research Institute (2006)
      • Teaching Fellow, Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland (2006-2007)
    • Awards:
      • Columbia University Presidential Fellow (2007-2011)
      • IPMI Metalor Technologies Graduate Student Award (2010)
      • North American Catalysis Society Kokes Scholarship Award winner (2009)
      • Outstanding Junior Award, Biological Resources Engineering (2006)
      • President’s Award, University of Maryland (2003)
    • Research Communication:
      • Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:
        • Kohn, M.P., Castaldi, M.J., Farrauto, R.J. “Biogas
          Reforming for Syngas Production: The Effect of Methyl Chloride” Applied Catalysis B: Environmental 144 (2014) 353-361
        • M. Kohn; J. Lee; M. Basinger; M.J. Castaldi: “Performance of an Internal Combustion Engine Operating on Landfill Gas and the Effect of Syngas Addition.” — Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., (2011) vol. 50(6): 3570-3579. (Abstract)
        • M. Kohn; M.J. Castaldi; R.J. Farrauto: “Auto-thermal and Dry Reforming of landfill gas over a Rh/γ-Al₂O₃ monolith catalyst.” — App. Catal. B: Environ., (2010) vol. 94: 125-133. (Abstract)
      • Conference Publications:
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J. “Effect of Methyl Chloride on Landfill Gas Dry Reforming” NAWTEC20, Proceedings of the 20th Annual North American Waste-to- Energy Conference, Portland, ME, United States, April 23-25 2012
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J. “Landfill Gas Reforming for Synthesis Gas Generation” Paper #21. Conference Proceedings; 30th International Conference on Thermal Treatment Technologies & Hazardous Waste Combustors (IT3), Air & Waste Management Association, Jacksonville, FL, May 10-13 2011.
      • Conference Presentations:
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J.  “Effect of Methyl Chloride on Methane Dry Reforming over a Rh/γAl2O3 Catalyst.” Poster Presentation, Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York, 2012
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J. “Effect of Methyl Chloride on Landfill Gas Dry Reforming” Oral Presentation, 20th Annual North American Waste-to- Energy Conference, 2012
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J.  “Landfill Gas Reforming for Synthesis Gas Generation” Oral Presentation, 30th International Conference on Thermal Treatment Technologies & Hazardous Waste Combustors (IT3), Air & Waste Management Association, 2011
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J.  “The Effect of CO2 and Coke Precursors on the Catalytic Partial Oxidation of Methane.” Poster Presentation, Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York, 2011
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J.  “Thermogravimetric Study of Propane and Propene Reforming on PtRh and NiO Catalysts.” Poster Presentation, Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York, 2010
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J.  “Auto-thermal Reforming of Landfill Gas using a Rh/γAl2O3 Monolithic Catalyst” Poster Presentation, Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York, 2009
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J.  “Auto-thermal Reforming of Landfill Gas for Synthesis Gas Generation” Oral Presentation, North American Catalysis Society Meeting, 2009
        • Kohn, McKenzie P., Castaldi, Marco J., Farrauto, Robert J.  “Auto-thermal Reforming of Landfill Gas”  Oral Presentation, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, 2008
  • Description of Research:
    • My research focuses on catalytically reforming landfill gas to produce syngas (H₂ and CO). Land filling is the most popular method of waste disposal in the U.S., producing CH₄ and CO₂ from the anaerobic decomposition of biomass in landfills. Landfills accounted for 17 % of U.S. methane emissions in 2009, making them the third largest source of anthropogenic methane, which has a global warming potential approximately 21 times that of CO₂. If the CH₄ is captured and used, the landfill becomes a source of inexpensive, local energy.
    • There are currently 519 operational landfill-gas-to-energy projects in the U.S. supplying 13 billion kWh of electricity and 100 billion cubic feet of LFG to direct-use projects annually. However, the difficulty in using landfill gas (LFG) for energy, especially in small to medium sized landfills, is that the high CO₂ content results in a lower BTU fuel. A solution to this is to catalytically convert a portion of the LFG to syngas in situ increasing the reactivity of the fuel, thereby decreasing engine and turbine emissions used to produce electricity from the LFG.
    • We have shown in our lab that injecting syngas into an IC engine reduces unburned hydrocarbon, CO, and NOx emissions while improving brake efficiency. We have also shown that a Rh/Al₂O₃ catalyst is effective for dry and auto-thermally reforming LFG to syngas. Currently, we are working on determining the effect of LFG impurities, such as chlorocarbons, on the catalyst activity while reforming LFG.

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