Umakanta Jena

( Desert Research Institute )


(775) 674-7122
  • Institution:Desert Research Institute
  • Departments: Division of Atmospheric Sciences
  • Research Fields: Renewable Energy, Biomass, Biofuels, Fuel Processing, Hydrothermal Liquefaction, Pyrolysis, Bio-oil, Catalytic Upgrading, Algae Based Biofuels, Pelletization
  • Disciplines: Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Physical Sciences
  • Location:Washoe County
  • Funding:NSF - National Science Foundation


Dr. Jena got his doctoral degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from the University of Georgia in 2011. His research interests include, generation of alternative fuels and value added co-products from microalgae and lignocellulosic biomass via thermochemical conversion routes. Dr. Jena has been working on hydrothermal conversion (liquefaction and carbonization) of biomass that involves pressure cooking of algae/ lignocellulose biomass into a higher energy content liquid and/or solid fuel. In his doctoral research, he investigated the production of bio-oil (biocrude) from algae via hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) and pyrolysis, compared their process mass distribution and energy efficiency, and developed the concept of algae biorefinery around HTL process. Earlier, Dr. Jena investigated on downdraft gasification of woody biomass and crop residues for thermal and engine applications, syngas cleaning and conditioning, and catalytic upgrading of bio-oil generated from HTL and pyrolysis processes. At DRI, he is investigating on the HTC process for converting biomass into hydrochar (a solid fuel that has similar fuel characteristics to that of the naturally occurring coal) along with water soluble high value chemicals in the aqueous phase.