People of GIDARA: Dr. Dobrin Toporov

The Driving Force Behind Our HTW® Gasification Technology

At GIDARA Energy, our strength lies in the expertise and dedication of our team. One of the shining examples of this expertise is Dr. Dobrin Toporov, our resident gasification expert, whose work has been pivotal in advancing our HTW® gasification technology.

But Dobrin is more than just a brilliant mind; he’s a passionate advocate for sustainable energy and a mentor to many in the field.

A Lifetime of Expertise

Dobrin’s journey in the field of gasification began with his Ph.D. in numerical simulations of combustion processes at the Technical University of Sofia. His early career saw him involved in several EU- and nationally funded R&D projects, laying a solid foundation for his future contributions.

Behind Dobrin’s scientific achievements is a story of perseverance and curiosity. He recalls his early days in Sofia, where his first encounter with the concept of converting waste into gasoline sparked a deep interest in non-conventional energy sources and fueled his desire to learn more.

Dobrin has extensive research and numerous publications on key topics such as pressurized fluidized bed and entrained flow gasification, Oxyfuel combustion, FLOX combustion and advanced thermodynamic modelling. His groundbreaking work in these areas has directly influenced the design and optimization of HTW® gasifiers, enhancing their efficiency and environmental performance.

At RWTH Aachen University, he not only led the development of advanced numerical models for pulverized coal oxy-combustion but also contributed hands-on to gasification systems, including leading experimental studies critical to our current technologies. Additionally, Dobrin played a key role in designing and commissioning the HTW® test facility at TU-Darmstadt, Germany, significantly enhancing our capability to test and optimize gasification processes. His leadership in pioneering advanced combustion models and simulation techniques has been crucial in elevating our technology to the forefront of the industry.

Key Achievements and Contributions:

  • Development of Advanced Combustion/Gasification Models: Designed industrial systems for clean combustion systems, gasification of biomass and MSW, including thermodynamic calculations and design of HTW® pressurized fluidized bed and entrained flow gasification systems.
  • Innovative Test Facilities: Led the design and commissioning of the 1 MWth HTW® test facility at TU-Darmstadt, Germany, enhancing our ability to test and optimize gasification processes.
  • Pioneering CFD-Based Models: Developed new CFD-based models for unsteady 3D simulation of gasification processes in pressurized fluidized bed reactors (HTW®-process) and oxy-combustion.
  • Academic Recognition: The pioneering research on Oxyfuel-combustion which lead to his habilitation and becoming a private docent at the RWTH Aachen University.
  • Extensive Patent Portfolio: Co-authored over 20 patents and over 50 peer-reviewed articles in the field of gasification and clean combustion, showcasing his innovative approach to advancing these technologies.

Selected Publications and Books:
    • Gasification of low-rank coal in the High-Temperature Winkler (HTW®) process. Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, (Toporov, D., & Abraham, R. 2015) Read here
    • Trends in NOx emissions during pulverized fuel oxy-fuel combustion. Energy & fuels (Ikeda, M., Toporov, D.,, 2012) Read here
    • OXYCOAL-AC: Towards an integrated coal-fired power plant process with ion transport membrane-based oxygen supply. Energy & Environmental Science (Kneer, R., Toporov, D., et. al, 2010) Read here
    • HTW® based Gasification of Indonesian Low Rank Coal as an Alternative for an Efficient and Sustainable Production of Chemicals. In Asian Nitrogen+ Syngas International Conference, (Toporov, D., Böttcher, J., & Abraham, R., 2014). Read here
    • Detailed investigation of a pulverized fuel swirl flame in CO2/O2 atmosphere. Combustion and Flame, (Toporov, D., Bocian, P., et. al, 2008) Read here
    • On the influence of the char gasification reactions on NO formation in flameless coal combustion. Combustion and Flame, (Stadler, H., Toporov, D., Förster, M., & Kneer, R., (2009) Read here
    • Combustion of pulverised coal in a mixture of oxygen and recycled flue gas (Toporov, D., 2014)  Read here

Pioneering In-House Knowledge

At GIDARA Energy, Dobrin’s role is integral to our mission. His expertise in designing and optimizing gasification processes ensures that our HTW® technology is both cutting-edge and reliable. Collaborating with our team of experts, Dobrin continuously pushes the boundaries of what is possible in gasification, reinforcing our position as industry leaders. Currently, Dobrin is also giving lectures on oxyfuel and gasification technologies at the RWTH Aachen University.

Dobrin’s impact goes beyond our walls. His work is widely recognized in the scientific community, with numerous publications and citations that highlight his contributions. His vision and innovative thinking have not only advanced our technology but also set new standards in the industry. When asked about what drives him, Dobrin shares, “It’s about knowing that my work contributes to a cleaner, more sustainable world.”

Colleagues often describe Dobrin as not just a brilliant scientist but also a mentor and a friend. His presence inspires discussions and curiosity among peers, with young engineers and researchers frequently seeking his advice or engaging in friendly chats. “Innovation thrives on collaboration,” Dobrin says. ” And sometimes, the best ideas come from the most casual conversations.”

Looking Ahead

“In this fast-evolving landscape, HTW® gasification technology represents a transformative approach towards a sustainable future,” Dobrin reflects. “Its ability to efficiently convert waste and biomass into high-value products such as clean energy and chemicals not only mitigates environmental impacts but also positions us at the forefront of innovation in energy solutions.”

When he’s not immersed in the world of gasification, you might find Dobrin indulging in his favorite pastimes—diving, sailing, and exploring the sea world with his family.

Dobrin is not just a lone expert but part of a larger team at GIDARA Energy, where collective knowledge and collaboration drive our innovations. We are excited to share more about our in-house expertise in upcoming posts, starting with a look at our experience at Berrenrath Demo Plant.

Stay tuned for more insights into our groundbreaking work and the exceptional minds behind it.


For more information, please feel free to reach out to:
Cristina Groian, Marketing & Communications, + 31 (0) 883180218