Slide 1.pngSlide 2.pngSlide 3.pngSlide 4.pngSlide 5.pngSlide 6.png

Dr. Adeel Ghayur

Carbon Technology Research Centre, Federation University AustraliaAustralia


Talk Title
Biofuels for circular economies in developing countries

Talk Abstract

Biofuels are an integral component of a circular economy with their capacity for large-scale energy storage. For example, a small biorefinery using 10 metric tonnes per day (t/d) of biomass (dry) is able to produce biofuel for 4,000 MWh of dispatchable electricity, annually. However, today’s biorefineries are associated with the stigma of food crops as feedstock. In a world where 10% of the global population suffers from chronic undernourishment, food for fuels is morally and ethically reprehensible. This ideology is driving research into non-food biomass based fuels. These feedstocks are made of lignocellulose – cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin – matrix or algae and do not impact the food supply chain. Cellulose is extracted from the lignocellulose matrix and converted into biofuels, while the rest is wasted. These biorefineries face their own challenges: high energy demand, large waste stream and high costs. The solution is valorisation of the remaining two fractions. This reduces waste, generates by-products thereby lowering costs and can produce surplus energy. Such multiproduct/polygeneration biorefineries are approaching commercialisation with a number of demonstration plants in Europe and North America. Third world nations, however, remain far behind. To attract these countries towards non-food biofuels it is important to design multiproduct biorefineries that address some of the non-energy issues they are facing. This makes the biorefinery commercially viable and gains the much needed social license.

This particular communication will discuss these multiproduct biorefineries. The Indian sub-continent region has been used as a model in this discussion. This region is plagued with the trilemma of food, housing and jobs. Here, Lignik Biorefinery is proposed as a suitable concept addressing the housing sector demands. It generates biofuels (ethanol, ethyl levulinate and methane) and bio-bricks (lignik).

Using 10 t/d of non-food biomass this biorefinery generates around 1,000 tonnes (annually) of ethanol from cellulose. This is enough for the baseload capacity of over 3,000 households in this region. If used for energy storage this can support a few hundred megawatt solar farm. This biorefinery also generates around 1 million ligniks (portmanteau of lignin and bricks) from lignin, annually. These are enough for 100 small low-cost family houses. Lignik is five times lighter than a clay brick and can be fashioned into pre-fabricated wall panels. Hemicellulose is converted to ethyl levulinate and methane to fulfil parasitic energy demand.

In the Indian sub-continent bricks are made in polluting and inefficient brick kilns that can generate as high as 400g of CO2 per brick, using coal, plastics, tyres and other refuse as fuel. The region has under 150,000 brick kilns producing hundreds of billions of bricks each year. With this background the Lignik Biorefinery is used as a model to discuss biofuels’ enormous potential and the associated technical and research challenges.

Short Biography

Adeel Ghayur started his career as a researcher in biorefineries and supply chains with his first journal publication in 2003. Since then his career has zigzagged between the academia and the industry, starting as a Research Associate and then Lecturer at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. During his tenure in the academia he also won a research grant and helped the university establish a new department, before joining the industry. From 2011 to 2015 he headed the multimillion dollar expansion of a refinery as Project Manager that oversaw the doubling of its capacity. In 2015 he joined the Carbon Technology Research Centre at the Federation University Australia to work on the development of an industrial ecosystem in the Latrobe Valley of Australia. In July 2018 he will join the AGL Energy, Australia to work on Hydrogen Supply Chain.

Adeel’s research areas include Biorefinery, Biodegradable Plastics, Biographene, Renewable Energy and Simulation.

Talk Keywords
Biofuel, biorefinery, Climate Change, brick kiln, lignik, pollution.
Target Audience
Stuents, academica, industry, government, NGOs
Speaker-intro video

The International Conference on Innovative Applied Energy (IAPE’18)