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Pr. Tao Wu and Kaiqi Shi

New Materials Institute, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China


Talk Title
New route for biomass to hydrogen: H2-rich syngas from biomass via microwave-enhanced pyrolysis coupled with catalytic reforming

Talk Abstract

The challenges of global climate change and the depletion of fossil fuel reserves have led to numerous investigations for alternative energy sources to establish a sustainable low carbon economy. Hydrogen is a clean fuel as well as a good energy carrier that can play an important role in the decarbonized economy. However, approximately 90% of the hydrogen is currently produced by using fossil fuels as feedstock. With the forecasted growth in hydrogen demands with the large scale deployment of fuel cells and other zero-emission technologies, novel, cleaner and more efficient technologies for the production of hydrogen in large scale are highly desirable.

The technical, economic and environmental viability of producing hydrogen from biomass via thermochemical and biological processes makes biomass one of the most promising energy sources for the future. Consequently, numerous technologies for biomass conversion have been extensively studied and researched due to the zero net carbon dioxide emissions nature of biomass utilization.

In this study, a novel approach for the enhanced hydrogen yield from the thermochemical processing of biomass was studied, which involves the use of microwave-enhanced pyrolysis coupled with catalytic reforming of the pyrolytic products. This multi-stage process adopted the microwave reactor for generating bio-oil and gaseous fraction which was instantaneously reformed using the in-situ reforming to increase the gaseous product and at the same time, to minimize the bio-oil yield. The unique feature of this approach is the use of microwave pyrolysis of biomass at a low operating temperature (600°C). Furthermore, nickel catalyst (nickel supported on molecular sieve support, Ni-13X) and activated carbon were employed as reforming catalyst to optimize the yield of bio-syngas (CO and H2). The coupling of catalytic reforming of pyrolytic vapors with the microwave-enhanced pyrolysis of biomass achieved about 1.3 - 5.5wt% increase in the total gaseous yield, 5.8 – 17.1wt% increase in synthesis gas production and up to 88.2vol% increase in hydrogen fraction. The new route developed in this study enables the highly-effective conversion of biomass into hydrogen gas at low operating temperatures, and therefore improves the economy of the biomass to hydrogen process.

Short Biography

Professor Tao Wu is a full professor in chemical engineering who has over 25 years of RD&D experience on the efficient conversion and utilization of fossil fuels/biomass, waste recycling and the development of novel materials for environmental applications. His research covers a wide range from blue-sky research to proof of concept and patent development leading to applications. To date, Professor Wu has completed over 40 research projects funded by various funding bodies and has developed technologies that benefit the society through commercialization. He is a Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, is currently leading the Municipal Key Laboratory of Clean Energy Conversion Technologies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China.

Talk Keywords
Target Audience
Students, Post doctoral, Industry, Doctors and professors
Speaker-intro video

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