The inaugural 2018 Symposium Workshop on Solid Waste & Biomass: Thermo-chemical conversion showcased FLEXI-PYROCAT research. The symposium was held at Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China 7 – 8 April 2018. It was attended by more than 40 delegates including FLEXI-PYROCAT partners from EU Universities, Leeds, Hull, Sheffield and Pannonia and Chinese partners Universities, Xi’an Jiaotong, Hebei University of Technology, Huazhong University of Science & Technology. Other delegates from the UK, Japan and China attended from University and industrial companies. The latest developments in the processing of wastes and biomass to produce higher value products were presented by University and Industry experts over the 2 days.
Dr Chunfei Wu and Miss Hongman Sun visited Hebei University of Technology in December 2017. They exchanged research ideas and outcomes with the researchers at the School of Energy and Environmental Engineering at the Hebei University of Technology. Hull researchers also used the in-situ DRIFTs reactor and TGA reactor to carry out catalytic experimental work. Collation in relation to plastics pyrolysis for carbon nanotubes production has also been discussed.
PhD researchers Ella Blanquet and Andrew Dyer from the University of Leeds visited Tsinghua University, Beijing within the period October to December 2017. Ella worked on the development of a novel post-processing system using plasma and plasma catalysis to enhance the quality of hydrogen-rich syngas from waste biomass. An in-house X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) equipment. The XPS analysis provides information on the oxidation state and composition of the catalyst before and after plasma treatment. Using plasma in pyrolysis of waste processes is a new and quickly evolving technology to produce enhanced products. Andrew worked on an investigation into the gases produced from the interaction of waste plastics and biomass using advanced combined thermogravimetric analysis-mass spectrometry. The information is valuable for the development of how plastics and biomass wastes such as wood and paper interact to influence the product composition from waste biomass and plastics processing.
Early career researcher Dingding Yao from Huazhong University of Science & Technology, China has spent the last 12 months at the University of Leeds, UK (November 2016-November 2017). She undertook research into the recycling of waste plastics to produce hydrogen and carbon nanotubes. Dingding investigated the use of Ni-Fe catalysts for the catalytic pyrolysis of real-world waste plastics to produce hydrogen and high value carbon nanotubes, the work is to be published in the journal Applied Catalysis B-Environmental. She also worked on the pyrolysis-catalytic steam reforming of waste high density polyethylene for the production of hydrogen using different zeolite supported nickel catalysts. The work has also been submitted to Applied Catalysis B-Environmental for publication. Further work on the influence of catalyst preparation methods on hydrogen production produced valuable insights into maximising hydrogen production from waste plastics.
Three researchers, Dr Attila Egedy, Zoltan Varga & Janos Soja from the University of Pannonia, Hungary visited Hebei University, China over the Summer 2017. They worked on the pyrolysis-gasification of waste and biomass, including experimental work and modelling. They met-up with University of Hull researcher Dr Chunfei Wu and University of Leeds researcher Julius Gane. The secondments will further the close collaboration between the Universities of Hebei, Hull, Leeds and Pannonia to deliver the aims of the EU HORIZON2020 FLEXI-PYROCAT project.
Dr Chunfei Wu from The University of Hull has visited Hebei University of Technology in August and September 2107. He tested a new pressurized reactor for plastic pyrolysis, which will provide extra valuable facility for this project. In addition, co-pyrolysis and co-gasification of biomass components (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) were tested using an advanced in-situ DRIFTs reactor.
PhD researcher Julius Gane from the University of Leeds visited Hebei University, Tianjin, China for a one month secondment July-August 2017. Julius was trained in the preparation of a novel MnTiO2 catalyst which can be used in his research into the upgrading of waste biomass pyrolysis oils to produce a gasoline like product and/or chemicals. He also gained experience in how Hebei University researchers analyse the product oils using FTIR and GC/MS. Julius also gave a presentation of his PhD research to the research group at Hebei University.
PhD researcher Kenneth Eboatu from the University of Leeds visited Tsinghua University, Beijing for a three month secondment from June 2nd to September 1st 2017. Kenneth worked on the development of a new reactor system for the catalytic pyrolysis-gasification of waste urban wood. He also gained knowledge in the preparation of a bifunctional catalyst for simultaneous syngas production with CO2 capture to enhance the concentration of hydrogen in the syngas.
Dr Norbert Miskolczi from the University of Pannonia in Hungary attended the 4th 3R International Scientific Conference on Material Cycles and Waste Management (4th 3RINCs) in New Delhi, India, 8 – 10 March 2017. The conference is an annual International conference to promote the scientific waste management and spread the concept of 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) principles in our societies. It aims at bringing together academicians, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, govt. organizations, municipalities and other industrial organizations from all over the world under one umbrella to brainstorm on the recent developments in the fields of waste management and valorization of waste streams in an environment friendly manner. Dr Miskolczi presented a paper on research carried out under the FLEXI-PYROCAT project entitled “Two step pyrolysis of waste polymers: Catalyst efficiency in the second reactor” (authors; N. Miskolczi, J. Sója, M.A., Nahil, Williams P.T.