Thermochemical valorization of fast-growing trees

The overall aim is to propose efficient and sustainable thermochemical conversion processes for fast-growing broadleaved species. The particular focus is on thermochemical conversion routes, which includes combustion (heat and power production), gasification (biofuel, ammonia, methanol, and H2 production) and pyrolysis (biocarbon and bio-oil production).  

The main research questions are (i) how tree species, forest management (e.g. thinning, spacing) and consequent growth rates (e.g stem diameters and numbers) affect the feedstock composition and physical structure, and (ii) how such properties will affect the fuel conversion in thermochemical conversion.  

The key feedstock properties are:  

  • Elemental composition (organic elements), macromolecular composition and structure (cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin types, extractives), and fuel composition (volatile matter, fixed carbon, ash content).  
  • Structural parameters such as density, cell wall thickness, and pore size. 
  • Thermophysical parameters such as heat capacity, pyrolysis reaction rates, and heat of reactions. 

The research results will be validated in some large-scale trials with industrial partners.  

The focuses of this project (Project 12) are composition and molecular structure of organic elements and thermophysical parameters. They are complementary and distinctive from that of Project 10, i.e. the ash forming/inorganic matter (e.g. K, Ca, Si, P, etc.) in the feedstock and their effects. 

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