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Applied Engery UNILAB EB2W (Conversion of Energy and Biochar from Biomass/Solid Waste Lab) Presentation

@ 2019 E2S2-CREATE and AIChE WMC, Section C, 9:00-9:35,CREATE Tower 2nd Floor

Project description

The objective of this UNILAB is to build a virtual lab regarding the gasification-based conversion of energy and biochar from biomass/solid waste via linking the experts of gasification, renewable energy, waste management, and biochar, as depicted in Figure 1. The program focus on the technical research of conventional/solar gasification, the advanced cooling driven by waste heat from gasification-based CCHP system, and biochar, which covers wide scopes of chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and environmental engineering. The proposed research program aims to build an inter-disciplinary collaboration, which promotes fundamental research and application design, using expertise from ten regions (Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Belgium, UK and Italy) as shown in Fig. 2. To achieve the proposed goals, we will conduct the three key joint research topics: (1) autothermal/solar gasification of biomass and solid waste, (2) gas-fired combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) system, and (3) to expand the use of biochar beyond soil application.

Fig. 1. Research concept of the waste-to-energy and waste-to-biochar alliance.

Fig. 2. Partner global distribution.

Sub-project 1: Autothermal/solar gasification of biomass and solid waste

Objective: The gasification includes quite complex processes, such as the drying, pyrolysis, gasification, combustion, tar reforming etc. Traditional autothermal gasification requires a portion of feedstock to be combusted for reaction process heat, which releases amount of CO2 to the environment. Compared to the syngas harvested from conventional autothermal gasification, the merits of solar gasification is no feedstock lost due to no internal combustion products contamination in the syngas. It delivers a relative high quality of syngas and a high ratio of H2/CO that can be further processed to synthetic liquid hydrocarbons (e.g. diesel, gasoline, methanol, and other alternative liquid fuels). However, solar energy has its disadvantage regarding the unstable nature inherent greatly depending on the direct radiation condition. Thus, the objective of this sub-project is to study the autothermal gasification assisted by solar energy via making best use of the advantages and bypassing the disadvantages.

Major tasks:

  • Heat/mass transport properties in biomass/solid waste pyrolysis and gasification processes
  • Circulating fluidized bed gasification of solid waste
  • Development and performance assessment of a novel autothermal/solar hybrid gasification
  • Novel and efficient catalysts will be developed to lower down the by-product of tar and promote cleaner solar syngas production.
  • Thermal radiative transport coupled to the reaction kinetics is analyzed for heterogeneous chemical systems in which their optical properties, species composition, and phases vary as the chemical reaction progresses.
  • Modelling, Validation, and Optimization – The governing continuity, fluid flow, and energy equations will be formulated and solved by applying CFD and Monte-Carlo numerical techniques.

Sub-project 2: Advanced cooling technologies driven by waste heat of a syngas-fired CCHP system
Objective: The syngas-fired distributed CCHP (combined cooling, heat and power) system is one of the most attractive alternatives. Thermal-driven cooling technology significantly affects the cooling contribution in the primary energy saving, especially for the regions with high requirements of cooling. As one of major space cooling techniques, thermally driven cooling and dehumidification allow using waste heat of engine for improving human comfort. The objective of the sub-project is to develop the technology can harvest low-grade thermal energy as low as 50°C and can thus improve the total energy efficiency of the cogeneration (e.g., electricity and heat) system using the sensible waste heat of product syngas or waste heat from engine for cooling production.

Major tasks:

  • Develop the high efficiency adsorbent material for dehumidification.
  • Develop the advanced desiccant dehumidification air-conditioning system.
  • Solve the energy matching issue in terms of parametric analysis of the waste recovery from eco-power generation system.

Sub-project 3: To expand the use of biochar beyond soil application

Objective: The initial research on using biochar is focused on soil improvement and carbon dioxide sequestration. In recent years, the use of biochar has expanded and found possible applications in engineering, health care and life sciences. The increasing number of research publications over the past few years shows that the biochar topic is getting more popular. While biochar in general is accepted as being harmless to the environment, the source of the feedstock to produce biochar may give rise to PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) and should be tested for toxicity.

Major tasks:

  • Biochar as a soil conditioner to enhance growth/yield of leafy vegetable
  • Toxicity assessment of biochar
  • Biochar as a sustainable building material
  • Catalytic conversion of food waste

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