Mood Mohan

Postdoctoral Appointee

Portrait of Mood Mohan

Mood Mohan’s research is primarily focused on the pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass using green solvents such as Ionic Liquids and Subcritical Water. Further, his research interests cover phase equilibria of ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents, conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into value-added chemicals, and prediction of thermodynamic and phase equilibria properties of liquid systems by computational chemistry calculations (molecular dynamics, quantum chemical and COSMO-RS model simulations).


Bachelor’s Degree: Chemical Engineering, Osmania University-India (2008-2012)

Master’s Degree: Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India (2012-2014)

Doctoral Degree: Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India (2014-2018)

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Sandia National Laboratories (2018-Present)

Research Interests

Biomass Utilization and Conversion to Produce Value-added Chemicals

Multiscale Simulation Approach Schematic

Over the past few decades, high consumption of fossil fuels has made a significant impact on environmental and economic viability. The latter is essentially due to the production of energy and value-added chemicals. Unfortunately, along with the benefits, the process has led to an enhanced production of carbon dioxide in the environment. An alternative solution to this problem is the utilization of renewable sources which can be used to produce both energy and valuable chemicals. Lignocellulosic biomass is one of the renewable materials that can be used to produce fuel using different pretreatment methods.  

Here, first Mohan has determined the green solvents for the dissolution of lignocellulosic biomass and its derived components. Ionic Liquids (ILs) are better solvents for the dissolution of lignocellulosic biomass under mild operating conditions. ILs exhibits several attractive properties that are considered green solvents. Till now, many (~106) ILs existed. Therefore, the selection of better IL for the dissolution is experimentally very difficult due to the high cost and time involved. Hence, Mohan has screened better ILs for the dissolution of biomass by a thermodynamic model, namely COSMO-RS. The COSMO-RS model is more efficient and less time consuming for the determination of an activity coefficient for any component in the mixture. The only information it required is chemical structure. In addition, Mohan has applied both quantum chemical (QC) and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations for quantifying the IL-biomass based component interactions. Further, the solid-liquid equilibria experiments are conducted for biomass dissolution in ILs to confirm the simulated results. Mohan has studied the three different types of pretreatment processes (dilute acid, subcritical water (SCW), and IL) for the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to reducing sugars, and upon fermentation, reducing sugars can be converted to produce bioethanol. The SCW and IL pretreatment methods are considered green technology or green solvents due to their attractive properties. The regenerated biomass is then characterized by FTIR, XRD and TGA. The concentration of reducing sugars was analyzed by HPLC. Finally, Mohan compared both the SCW and IL methods with the dilute acid pretreatment results. Being a researcher, Mohan always tries to find out the new and interesting solvents for the dissolution or pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass and its derived components.

Thermodynamic and Phase Equilibria of Liquid Systems

ASPEN Plus schematic and molecular dynamics

Liquid-Liquid Equilibrium (LLE) studies for IL/DES + ABE/polyhydrocarbons + water/heptane were conducted to explain the effectiveness of IL or DES as potential solvents. The extraction process was found to be economical and effective among several alternatives namely distillation, absorption, pre-vaporization, and membrane separation. Therefore, Liquid-Liquid Extraction (LLE) is an environmentally friendly technique and an alternative to the distillation process. The use of LLE reduces the consumption of energy and avoids the discharge of volatile solvent to the environment. The role of molecular simulations in the LLE based experiments is very important to understand the behavior of different molecules and the mechanism involved in different ternary systems. The interaction parameters, which are obtained from NRTL and UNIQUAC models, were then used for designing an Isothermal Liquid-Liquid Extractor. ASPEN Plus calculations have also been adopted to study the separation and recovery of solvent.

Awards, Honors, and Memberships

  • Selected by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) under the Department of Science and Technology-India for a travel grant to conference in Edinburgh (2017)
  • Organizing member of a Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) course on"Integration of Molecular Design to Process Simulation for the Development of Industrial Chemical Products and Processes"

Selected Publications

  • Mohan M, Balaji C, Goud VV, Banerjee T. Thermodynamic Insights in the Separation of Cellulose/Hemicellulose Components from Lignocellulosic Biomass Using Ionic Liquids. J Solution Chem 2015;44:538-57 (IF: 1.401)
  • Mohan M, Goud VV, Banerjee T. Solubility of glucose, xylose, fructose and galactose in ionic liquids: Experimental and theoretical studies using a continuum solvation model. Fluid Phase Equilib 2015;395:33-43 (IF: 2.197)
  • Mohan M, Banerjee T, Goud VV. Hydrolysis of bamboo biomass by subcritical water treatment. Bioresour Technol 2015;191:244-52 (IF: 5.807)
  • Mohan M, Timung R, Deshavath NN, Banerjee T, Goud VV, Dasu VV. Optimization and hydrolysis of cellulose under subcritical water treatment for the production of total reducing sugars. RSC Adv 2015;5:103265-75 (IF: 2.936)
  • Mohan M, Banerjee T, Goud VV. Solid Liquid Equilibrium of Cellobiose, Sucrose and Maltose Monohydrate in Ionic Liquids: Experimental and Quantum Chemical Insights. J Chem Eng Data (2016); 61(9): 2923–2932 (IF: 2.196)
  • Mohan M, Banerjee T, Goud VV. Effect of Protic and Aprotic Solvents on the Mechanism of Cellulose Dissolution in Ionic Liquids: A Combined Molecular Dynamics and Experimental Insight. ChemistrySelect (2016); 1(15): 4823–4832 (IF: 1.505)
  • Mohan M, Naik PK, Banerjee T, Goud VV, Paul S. Solubility of Glucose in Tetrabutylammonium Bromide based Deep Eutectic Solvents: Experimental and Molecular Dynamic Simulations. Fluid Phase Equilib (2017); 448: 168-177 (IF: 2.197)
  • Mohan M, Viswanath P, Banerjee T, Goud VV. Multiscale Modeling Strategies and Experimental Insights for the Solvation of Cellulose and Hemicellulose in Ionic Liquids. Mol Phys (2018); 116: 2108-2128 (IF: 1.704)
  • Mohan M, Banerjee T, Goud VV. COSMO-RS Based Screening of Antisolvents for the Separation of Sugars from Ionic Liquids: Experimental and Molecular Dynamic Simulations. ACS Omega (2018); 3: 7358−7370 (IF: pending)
  • Mohan M, Deshavath NN, Banerjee T, Goud VV, Dasu VV. Ionic liquid and sulphuric acid based pretreatment of bamboo: biomass delignification and enzymatic hydrolysis for the production of reducing sugars. Ind Eng Chem Res (2018); 57: 10105–10117 (IF:3.141)
  • Mohan M, Banerjee T, Goud VV. Phase Transition Properties, Chemical Purity and Solubility of Coniferyl Alcohol and D-Mannose: Experimental and COSMO-RS Predictions. Can J Chem Eng (2018) DOI: 10.1002/cjce.23338 (IF:1.265)
  • Naik PK*, Mohan M*, Banerjee T, Paul S, Goud VV. Molecular Dynamic Simulations for the Extraction of Quinoline from Heptane in the Presence of Low Cost Phosphonium Based Deep Eutectic Solvent. J Phys Chem B  (2018); 122(14): 4006-4015. * equal authorship (IF: 3.146)
  • Verma R*, Mohan M*, Goud VV, Banerjee T. Operational Strategies and Comprehensive Evaluation of Menthol Based Deep Eutectic Solvent for the Extraction of Lower Alcohols from Aqueous Media. ACS Sustainable Chem Eng., (2018); 6(12): 16920–16932. *equal authorship (IF: 6.140)
  • Timung R, Mohan M, Chilukoti B, Sasmal S, Banerjee T, Goud VV. Optimization of dilute acid and hot water pretreatment of different lignocellulosic biomass: A comparative study. Biomass Bioenergy (2015); 81: 9-18 (IF: 3.358)
  • Deshavath NN, Mohan M, Veeranki VD, Goud VV, Pinnamaneni SR, Benarjee T. Dilute acid pretreatment of sorghum biomass to maximize the hemicellulose hydrolysis with minimized levels of fermentative inhibitors for bioethanol production. 3 Biotech (2017); 7: 139 (IF: 1.497)