Sandeep Mora to Receive PhD

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Sandeep Mora expects to receive his degree in December 2013, and he hopes his research at IPST-Georgia Tech will contribute to cost reductions in pulp and paper mill sludge management. 

Sandeep’s PhD research focused on enhancing the production of biofuels from cornstarch and cellulose—in bleached fiber, brown pulp, wheat straw and sludge.  In his work, he used cationic polymers to accelerate the enzymatic hydrolysis of feedstock to glucose.  Sandeep was able to show that by using cationic polymers enzyme dosage can be reduced by half.  

Sandeep performed several studies to determine how cationic polymers affect enzymatic hydrolysis.  Enzymes are very expensive and often determine the process economics of the entire plant so a reduction in enzyme usage of this magnitude is very attractive for paper mills and other sources of biomass.  Through his research he was able to show that conversion of sludge through enzymatic hydrolysis to glucose at mills is economically viable not just in the laboratory but in a mill environment.  Sandeep shared his research and conclusions at the April 2013 Executive Conference in a presentation titled Residuals Management in a Landfill-Limited Environment.

Sandeep credits his thesis advisor, a business advisor, and organizations in achieving the PhD milestone.  His primary thanks go to his advisor Dr. Sujit Banerjee.  “I have benefited a lot from my advisor Dr. Sujit Banerjee,” Sandeep says.  He notes that Dr. Banerjee’s “work is very industrial-oriented and he guided me throughout my PhD on how to perform research with a good balance between basic fundamental science and technological applications.”  Dr. Banerjee was also a sound advisor on conducting a successful job search and helped Sandeep with his interviewing skills.

Danny Haynes, Senior Technical Coordinator at Akzo Nobel Pulp and Performance Chemicals, also contributed to Sandeep’s success.  Haynes attended all of Sandeep’s presentations at IPST.  This was mutually beneficial to AkzoNobel and IPST because it established a personal relationship between the researcher and a potential user of the work.  Sandeep found that Haynes’ constructive feedback helped him to better shape his project.

Likewise, Haynes found the relationship beneficial.  In particular, Haynes notes that Sandeep adjusted some of his research to address some particular questions related to lignin.  Haynes says that “AkzoNobel has a long history” of helping IPST students on research projects, and he has interacted with several students in Dr. Banerjee’s group and with other professors.  As to Sandeep’s work, Haynes says that AkzoNobel has licensed the technology and intends to commercialize it. 

Additionally, Sandeep includes active participation in TAPPI as an important facet of his education.  Sandeep assisted Mr. Haynes, along with Dr. Banerjee, on a presentation for the 2012 TAPPI International Bioenergy and Bioproducts Conference.

As Sandeep prepares to leave IPST for an anticipated career in industry, he has praise for IPST.  Put simply, “IPST is a great place for a student to work.” 

The presentation at the April 2013 Executive Conference, co-authored by Dr. Banerjee, can be found at Sandeep Mora - Residuals.pdf

The TAPPI presentation can be found at


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