Julius Gane visits Hebei University

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.Julius Hebei


Kenneth Eboatu visits Tsinghua 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.Kenneth

Dr Norbert Miskolczi presents FLEXI-PYROCAT research in India

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.

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Hongman visits Hebei University of Technology

Miss Hongman Sun, from University of Hull, UK visited Hebei University of Technology, China from April-June 2017. She worked on multifunctional catalytic adsorbents with the aim of CO2 capture and utilisation. The mechanism and kinetic study of CO2 capture using commercial and synthesized CaO were also investigated. She carried out research work experimentally using a TGA analytical equipment and an in-situ DRIFTS reactor, etc.

Yeshui Zhang visits Tsinghua University


Yeshui - Tsinghua -01

Early career research Yeshui Zhang from the University of Leeds, UK visited Tsinghua University, Beijing, China from March –June 2017.  She worked on the development of novel nickel based catalysts with the aim of producing hydrogen from biomass. A further development was also incorporating calcium oxide into the nickel catalyst to capture carbon dioxide in-situ, thereby further increasing hydrogen yield. She developed a new reactor system using pyrolysis-catalysis and an on-line gas analysis system.

Outcomes of the workshop

Around 25 delegates from 17 institutes/companies (UK, China and Hungary) attended the workshop on pyrolysis and gasification of wastes and biomass in Hull. The delegates gave presentations covering fundamental catalysis, flexible process development, microwave pyrolysis, overview of industrial deployment in China, details of designing small-scale gasification system, molecular modelling and CFD modelling, and different applications of the products from pyrolysis/gasification of biomass and wastes. Ideas and knowledge have been intensively exchanged. Opportunities, challenges and solutions of gasification and pyrolysis have been discussed in three groups and presented. The results of group discussions are summarized as follows:

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Opportunities of pyrolysis and gasification of wastes and biomass

  1. Limited places for landfill
  2. Improve the efficiency of raw materials uses
  3. Extract values from wastes
  4. Make profits from wastes
  5. Not too many opportunities about MSW pyrolysis
  6. Pyrolysis of biomass and MSW gasification are promising in future
  7. Climate change is a big drive for pyrolysis and gasification
  8. Better infrastructure of power and heat generation make gasification more promising
  9. Gasification has long history
  10. Gasification technology is more flexible, can produce syngas for the generation of heat, power and chemicals
  11. Producing high value chemicals from pyrolysis of specific wastes could be promising
  12. Bio-char has many applications
  13. Gasification can produce hydrogen for future clean energy system

Challenges of pyrolysis and gasification of wastes and biomass

  1. Policy stability
  2. High capital costs for large-scale plant
  3. Low economic profits
  4. Technologies not mature
  5. Investors are not confident in the technologies
  6. Public perception issues, in particular about using MSW
  7. Knowledge about successful or failed projects are not well shared
  8. Pyrolysis and gasification have higher requirements for feedstock properties compared to incineration
  9. Scaling up too early
  10. Tar problem for gasification
  11. Low power density
  12. Resistance to new ideas/technologies
  13. Sizing problem
  14. Cheap nature gas prohibits the development of pyrolysis and gasification
  15. Bio-oil needs to be standardized
  16. Biomass needs to be classified
  17. Catalyst is expensive if used
  18. Difficult to control temperature inside the gasifier
  19. Syngas clean up problems
  20. Low quality of bio-oil
  21. Too expensive to upgrade bio-oil
  22. Lack of management experiences for plant building and running

Solutions to challenges

  1. Modelling to facilitate technology development and scaling up
  2. Government could enhance the knowledge distribution
  3. Producing transporting fuels by blending
  4. Good match between the capacity of plant and the needs of markets
  5. No solutions to microwave pyrolysis? (Energy consumption too high? Use intensified microwave heating?)
  6. By-pass the condensation of syngas
  7. Use catalyst to produce high-value products
  8. Combine with renewable energy (energy storage)
  9. Real time tar detection and control
  10. Pre-treatment of feedstock
  11. Standardize feedstock
  12. Good coupling of pyrolysis and gasification
  13. Design novel catalyst
  14. Select proper feedstock for certain technologies
  15. Plasma gas cleaning
  16. Thermal plasma gasification (clean gas although high energy input)
  17. Develop robust reactor
  18. New policy for bioenergy, biofuels and waste management
  19. Novel management system for feedstock

Workshop on pyrolysis and gasification of wastes and biomass

Workshop on Pyrolysis and Gasification of Wastes and Biomass

30 and 31 March 2017 – Hull

Supported by EU RISE and Newton Fund

Venue: Mercure Hull Royal Hotel (170 Ferensway, Hull HU1 3UF)

Background: Biomass and wastes are largely available. Converting them into useful products such as syngas, bio-oil and char is important to realize the values of these materials, and to improve the efficiency of the use of raw materials. In this work, we will focus on the advanced thermal-chemical conversion of biomass and wastes, including pyrolysis and gasification.

Delegates from universities and academics from different counties including China, UK and Hungary will present their recent work in the development of pyrolysis and gasification. This two-day workshop will include presentations and group discussions to exchange knowledge and also to identify gaps, challenges and potential opportunities for collaboration and future funding.

Provisional agenda

Registration 9:30 am
Workshop starts 10:30 am
Presentation session 1 10:40 am
Tea break 12:00 pm
Presentation session 2 12:20 pm
Lunch 1:20 pm
Presentation session 3 2:30 pm
Tea break 4:00 pm
Presentation session 4 4:20 pm
Dinner 7:30 pm
Presentation session 5 9:00 am
Group discussion session 1 9:40 am
Tea break 11:30 am
Group discussion session 2 11:40 am
Lunch 12:40 pm
Close 2 pm

Current confirmed delegates

Name University Presentation title
Dr. Siddharth Gadkari University of Surrey, UK Development of computational models  for Advanced Bioenergy Technologies – Fast Pyrolysis and Microwave Pyrolysis
Dr. Xiaolei Zhang Queens University, Belfast, UK Theoretical elucidation of the molecular behaviour of levoglucosan during biomass pyrolysis
Dr. Norbert Miskolczi University of Pannonia, Hungary Valuable products from real waste plastics and biomass by pyrolysis
Dr. Meng Liu Southeast University, China Hydrothermal treatment of both low-rank coal and sewage sludge: Effect of process conditions on product characteristics
Miss Yiran Fan Imperil college London The potential of pyrolytic coconut shell as a sustainable bio-filler for natural rubber
Dr. Xin Tu University of Liverpool Plasma-catalysis: a novel solution for bioenergy
Mr James Kong ALP Technologies Ltd. The Importance of Design and Engineering for Small-Scale CHP
Dr Christopher M. A. Parlett University of Aston Tailoring porous supports to enhance catalysis
Dr. Ningbo Gao  Xi’an Jiaotong University, China Steam reforming of biomass tar for hydrogen production over Ni/ceramic foam catalyst
Prof. Paul T. Williams University of Leeds Flexible processing of waste plastics for high value products
Dr. Xi Yu University of Aston CFD modelling of biomass thermochemical conversion: from theory to application
Prof. Meihong Wang University of Sheffield  TBC
Miss Dingding Yao Huazhong University of Science and Technology  TBC
Dr. Zhenan Han Wuhan Optics Valley Environmental Technology Co., Ltd  TBC
Dr. Mark Gronnow University of York  TBC
Dr. Xiang Gou Hebei University of Technology  TBC
Dr. Chunfei Wu University of Hull  TBC
Dr. Cui Quan Xi’an Jiaotong University  –
Dr. Quanping Wu Tianjin University of Technology
Dr. Xuebin Ke University of Hull Development of light-driven biomass conversion technologies
Miss Hongman Sun University of Hull  –
Mr Chidiebere Diyoke University of Hull  –

FLEXI-PYROCAT Researchers meet at the University of Leeds, February 2017

Leeds Meeting - 16 02 2017

FLEXI-PYROCAT project researchers from the EU Beneficiary Universities of Leeds, Hull and Sheffield (UK) meet-up with researchers from the Chinese partner Universities of Huazhong University of Science & Technology and Xi’an Jiaotong University. The research meeting took place at the University of Leeds in February 2017 and included a tour of the University of Leeds research laboratories.

Miss Dingding Yao in Leeds


Miss Dingding Yao, from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, is visiting the University of Leeds. She will stay in Leeds between November 2016 and November 2017. She worked on the hydrogen production from co-gasification of waste biomass and plastics under the supervision of Dr Paul T. Williams. Carbon deposited on the surface of catalyst during the experiment was also investigated. Dingding carried out experiments using a two stage fixed bed reactor, and was trained to use several analytical equipments including thermogravimetric analyser, gas chromatography, transmission electron microscope, scanning electron microscope and so on. Her work in Leeds also contributes to her PhD thesis, and strengthens collaboration between Huazhong University and University of Leeds.

Dr Norbert Miskolczi from the University of Pannonia visits the University of Leeds

EU RISE Leeds.png

Dr Norbert Miskolczi from the University of Pannonia, Hungary visited the University of Leeds, UK in January-February 2017. The University of Pannonia is an EU Beneficiary Partner in the FLEXI-PYROCAT project.  The purpose of the visit was to discuss research associated with a Round Robin testing of waste plastics as part of the FLEXI-PYROCAT project. Round Robin testing using different types of pyrolysis technologies at the University of Leeds, University of Pannonia and at Tsinghua University, (China) has been carried out. One specific waste sample was used in each laboratory based on a typical composition of residual waste plastics found in municipal solid waste. Detailed product yield and gas and oil product composition was determined. One-stage (Pannonia), two-stage (Leeds) and fast pyrolysis (Tsinghua) pyrolysis reactors were used. In addition, the influence of using different ZSM-5 catalysts with added metal promoters was used to improve the yield and value of the of product oil. The visit was funded by the University of Pannonia.