Dominican University of California
 

Presentation or Panel Title

Pine Needle Pyrolysis: Bio-waste into Biofuel

Location

Guzman 201, Dominican University of California

Start Date

4-20-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

4-20-2017 4:30 PM

Department

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Student Type

Undergraduate - Honors

Faculty Mentor

Kenneth Frost, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

This project explores the alternate uses of biomass. In particular, it focuses on pine needles as a source for biofuels. Pine needles are of interest because in certain Mountain communities they are collected and removed from residential properties. By removing the pine needles, communities create a “defensible space” to prevent wild fires from destroying homes. These needles are often placed in regional landfills. The South Tahoe Refuse and Recycling Services alone has more than 4,340 tons of pine needles dumped at their facility annually. This large amount of biomass can be a potential energy source.

The focus of this research is on the pyrolysis of the pine needles to create synthesis gas and other byproducts. This process also produces a complex mixture of viscous liquid products containing furan, furfural, and other dehydration products from sugar decomposition. A large portion of the material that remains after pyrolysis is biochar. The products will be the subject of future research.

The research currently focuses on the gaseous products. With Fischer Tropsch technology applied, it should be possible to oligomerize this gas to methanol and higher carbon number products. Later the carbon based products could be used directly in gasoline as supplemental fuel components. The components will reduce the carbon footprint of gasoline without raising the ethanol content of the fuels above the threshold level of 15%; a level above which many automobile manufactures refuse to recommend for their vehicles. To demonstrate the feasibility of this process we will discuss research done with an iron based Fischer Tropsch supplied to us from Emerging Fuels Technology, Tulsa, OK and synthesis gas models of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Extensions to pine needle gas will also be discussed.

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Apr 20th, 4:00 PM Apr 20th, 4:30 PM

Pine Needle Pyrolysis: Bio-waste into Biofuel

Guzman 201, Dominican University of California

This project explores the alternate uses of biomass. In particular, it focuses on pine needles as a source for biofuels. Pine needles are of interest because in certain Mountain communities they are collected and removed from residential properties. By removing the pine needles, communities create a “defensible space” to prevent wild fires from destroying homes. These needles are often placed in regional landfills. The South Tahoe Refuse and Recycling Services alone has more than 4,340 tons of pine needles dumped at their facility annually. This large amount of biomass can be a potential energy source.

The focus of this research is on the pyrolysis of the pine needles to create synthesis gas and other byproducts. This process also produces a complex mixture of viscous liquid products containing furan, furfural, and other dehydration products from sugar decomposition. A large portion of the material that remains after pyrolysis is biochar. The products will be the subject of future research.

The research currently focuses on the gaseous products. With Fischer Tropsch technology applied, it should be possible to oligomerize this gas to methanol and higher carbon number products. Later the carbon based products could be used directly in gasoline as supplemental fuel components. The components will reduce the carbon footprint of gasoline without raising the ethanol content of the fuels above the threshold level of 15%; a level above which many automobile manufactures refuse to recommend for their vehicles. To demonstrate the feasibility of this process we will discuss research done with an iron based Fischer Tropsch supplied to us from Emerging Fuels Technology, Tulsa, OK and synthesis gas models of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Extensions to pine needle gas will also be discussed.