Dr. B.V.S. Jyoti: An Aerospace Scientist Introducing A Sustainable Propellant/Fuel Solution

Dr. B.V.S. Jyoti: An Aerospace Scientist Introducing A Sustainable Propellant/Fuel Solution

  Dr. B.V.S. Jyoti,   Founder & CEO, Solvge

Dr. B.V.S. Jyoti

Founder & CEO, Solvge

For example, Hydrazine (N2H4) Thanks to the active participation of private players worldwide in the space business, the evaluation of space launch vehicles has reached an extraordinary level today. Their intervention and its success have enabled low-cost access to space. The other side of the coin is the concern over the sustain ability and environmental aspect of the launch vehicles’ development and operations. Needless to say, the chemical propellants used in propulsion systems release toxic materials during combustion, affecting our ecosystem and humanity. used by most satellites and launch vehicles is carcinogenic, highly toxic, and corrosive, not to mention these chemicals are highly expensive. In the EU region, the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has included hazardous chemicals like hydrazine on the watch list in the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) framework.European Union is set to completely outlaw its use in the near future.

Many efforts have already been taken to find low-cost and green propellants for future space exploration activities. However, producing highly concentrated peroxide is a complex process. Thus, its availability is limited in the markets; subsequently, the cost has skyrocketed. This need triggered SolvGE the developer of the world’s first Hydrogen Peroxide Concentrator to find novel ways of producing high concentrated hydrogen peroxides for propulsion applications and other applications like the Chemical industry. SolvGE has developed a patented technology known as H2O2 Concentrator which can produce the H2O2 from a 20 percent 99 percent range with high purity.

Dr. Botchu Vara Siva Jyoti Founder & CEO, SolvGE, is on a mission of developing technologies for sustainable production of H2O2 for various applications by amalgamating her unparalleled scientific acumen, professional industry experience in aerospace engineering, and global exposure. A Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering(Propulsion) from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Dr. Jyoti founded SolvGE with her research team in 2020 with a patented technology to produce hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which makes an excellent rocket propellant at above 90-percent concentration with up to 99.5 percent+ concentration. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Space engineering department at TUDelft, the Netherlands, with a motivation to address sustainable energetic chemicals for different industrial applications including space propulsion. CEO Insights engages in an exclusive interview with Dr. Jyoti to explore more of this ground breaking technology and the latest endeavors of SolvGE.

In conversation with Dr. B.V.S. Jyoti, Founder & CEO, SolvGE.

You have had a stellar academic as well as a professional career. How has the journey been so far?
I hail from a middle class family in Andhra Pradesh, India with limited resources to support my education, but that does not stop me from chasing my dreams. I constantly reminded myself that life is not easy, but with dedication and determination, the tough gets going. That’s how I accomplished my doctorate with a full time scholarship, followed by a Postdoctoral research experience in South Korea.

I was awarded Excellent research work for my Doctoral research, and ‘Korea Young Research Fellowship (KRF)’ and a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Ministry of Science, South Korea, for my project on ‘Green Hypergolic Propellant (H2O2) based Propulsion System’. I worked in South Korea for seven years at KAIST and in collaboration with NRF, the Ministry of Science, ICT. At the end of 2018, I moved to the Netherlands and started working at TUDelft. While working at TUDelft as an Assistant Professor in Space Engineering Department, Aerospace Engineering Faculty, with my small research team, we developed a patented technology and established SolvGE in July 2020.

I assumed office as the CEO of SolvGE B.V. while working as an Assistant Professor at TUDelft. SolvGE was established to help the Space propulsion community with sustainable chemical H2O2, which was not readily available due to logistic issues and global government regulations due to the energetic nature of highly concen
trated H2O2 and its unstable nature. After performing market validation, SolvGE realized that H2O2 covers a wide range of global market and demand our attention and outreach.

What traits best define your leadership approach, and what has been the success mantra in your journey so far?
Discipline, dedication and punctuality, followed by enthusiasm and seriousness about my responsibility toward my team, work, and company. My team is my strength!

I have programmed myself to face all the failures and hard times with a positive attitude, learning lessons from them and becoming stronger with each failure experience. I believe, ‘You cannot lose if you do not quit, and a strong mindset is never defeated.’ Moreover, anything is possible when we have the right people and motivational team to support you and take the right action at the right time.

What inspired you to establish a venture to solve sustainability issues in every aspect of life? Define SolvGE’s presence and impact in the chemical raw materials manufacturing domain.
While pursuing my master’s, I worked with hydrazine based toxic propellants for propulsion applications as part of my thesis. It led to severe health issues. I learned about the Propulsion industry it is one of the most pressing issues and requires the scientific community’s attention by introducing more sustainable propellants for propulsion applications.

During my Ph.D. and Postdoc research, I started focusing on developing green bipropellant combinations for bipropellant propulsion applications, which resulted in a few patents. To take this to the next level, I started inspiring my research team and students both in South Korea and at TUDelft to explore and work with green chemicals. One of the most promising green chemicals is H2O2, with versatile applications based on its energetic level/ concentration. With an increase or decrease in concentration, it can be used for a wide range of applications, from disinfectants to waste water treatment, from the paper and pulp industry to semiconductors, and from chemical oxidation to space propulsion. It is such a beautiful & versatile chemical.

While working with this chemical at TUDelft with my very first student research team (Mr. Jaime and Mr. Pranav), we explored the hypergolicity nature of H2O2 with other green chemicals for space propulsion applications. Due to the lack of availability of H2O2 at a high concentration of 90 percent and above, I realized the logistic issues linked with H2O2 availability, transportation, and economy. We also learned this logistic issue is the main reason why most of the chemical and space industries are reluctant to explore using H2O2 for different industrial applications for sustainability. To overcome this logistic and sustainability issue, we developed a novel technology, patented it, and established SolvGE when COVID was at its peak.

Tell us about your process. What are the problems this new technology solves?
The process that lies at the heart of SolvGE’s technology is a modified version of Air Stripping. It is a method of reacting air at precise conditions (flow rate, flow angle, velocity, humidity) to effectively pull the water out of the H2O2 solution. This is used as a replacement for the conventionally used distillation process. Hydrogen peroxide is highly heat sensitive therefore, a heat intensive process such as distillation can provide serious safety and operational issues.

Our process operates at low temperatures (10-40 0C), which makes the process inherently safe. Additionally, these low-temperature conditions make utilization of ambient heat energy, waste heat, and heat pump technology possible. This allows significant energy savings over conventional hydrogen peroxide concentration processes. The process utilizes no additional chemicals and emits no extra CO2 due to the ambient or waste heat sources that the process utilizes. The process can operate solely on electricity acquired from renewable sources.

Our present product line is based on a batch process suited to the customer’s needs. For the scale of chemical plants, a continuous process is required. We have conducted preliminary experiments of a constant flow system that has concentrated H2O2 in efficiencies higher than the batch process. Overall, SolvGE has a technology that is scalable from the R&D scale to the Industrial scale. Small scale systems such as RGP V2, SG 1, SG 20, and SG 200 are portable. Large
scale plants produce hundreds of kilotons of H2O2 a year for chemical plants across the globe. SolvGE is working toward collaborations with companies within and outside of Europe with the objective of a longterm partnership.

Tell us about other unique aspects of this new technology. Also what are your commercialization and growth strategies around it?
Our technology’s biggest advantages lie in safety ease of operations and scalability. Our process utilizes no extra heat or pressure to separate two liquids with different vapor pressure properties. This is especially important for liquids that are susceptible to heat and pressure. Hydrogen peroxide can be explosive or corrosive if it is in contact with the wrong materials or dangerous temperature conditions. Therefore, a process that can separate a volatile liquid out of a mixture while not creating hazardous situations could be very beneficial. Currently, the most used techniques for hydrogen peroxide concentration are vacuum and distillation. These techniques need complicated equipment and trained personnel to operate. Especially, distillation is very dangerous and calls for high safety features. These issues can be mitigated by utilizing our process due to its safe and easy-to-use properties, scalability and portability.

This, along with a positive search report, proves that our chemical process is unique and does not overlap with any existing technology in the market. The system is designed to minimize the handling the customer has to perform regarding the hydrogen peroxide. This ensures that all customers can utilize the system to minimize the danger to the user and also add additional benefits by overcoming the logistic concern of transportation.

The product development strategy perfectly wed exemplifies SolvGE’s growth strategy. SolvGE began with developing the RGP-V1, which after shipping the initial units, we received valuable customer feedback, and then developed the RGP-V2, which we will begin shipping in January of 2023. In parallel, we developed the SG-1, which is sized for small propellant applications but also serves as a demonstration for customers interested in larger-scale products. The product will be shipped to the first customers in Q1 of 2023. While marketing the SG-1, we again received valuable feedback, and SolvGE has almost done developing the SG-1 V2 that can increase not just the concentration of H2O2 but also increase the purity of H2O2; while simultaneously requiring less than 50 percent of the energy when compared to V1. We will start shipping by Q2. This reduction in energy for the V2 proves SolvGE’s viability to build larger scale products in an energy-efficient manner.

During every stage of product development, we have been able to commercially launch our product and receive customer feedback to improve it this is truly unique for a global deeptech product startup.

What is the future destination you are heading toward?
Our goal is to ensure the most cost effective system with the vision of targeting the consumer market with H2O2 as a commodity chemical. Hydrogen peroxide is a part of our daily lives. The byproducts of peroxide consumption are only water and oxygen, releasing no harmful components into the environment. The decomposition of H2O2 will generate electricity (which SolvGE successfully used to power an LED light), water, and oxygen, which can be circulated back to the production of H2O2, leading to a circular and sustainable system of energy storage and generation. All this accessibility uses resources of just water and electricity from sunlight. Therefore, the global implementation of our novel technology will bring the world one step closer to SOLVing Green Energy!.

Dr.B.V.S. Jyoti, Founder & CEO, Solvge
Dr. Jyoti has a self confident persona, a positive attitude, and result oriented enthusiasm. She holds a Doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering with Postdoctoral experience in rocket propulsion with a keen interest and focus on green energetic chemicals and propellants for propulsion application.

Hobbies:Reading, listening to Music, and Playing Chess
Favorite Cuisine: Indian Cuisine (especially Biryani), South Korean Cuisine, and Some Japanese Cuisines
Favorite Book: Bhagavad Gita
Favorite Travel Destination: India, Japan, South Korea

Awards & Recognition:
•Doctoral excellent research award (KAIST); Young Korea Fellowship(byNRF and Ministry of Science, South Korea) Outstanding paper award (Conference, South Korea).

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