Solid Biomass Energy

Status Start Date End Date Locations
Active Nov 1, 2021 Oct 31, 2024 Outside Indiana, state
Director: Maria Mastalerz
Other Researchers: Agnieszka Drobniak Zbigniew Jelonek and Iwona Jelonek, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland
Funding: Indiana University - Indiana Geological & Water Survey
Issue: Our research strongly suggest that the properties of raw fuels affect the characteristics of combustion emissions and therefore, the assessment of the quality of biomass fuels should be of critical importance, as smoke from their combustion impacts human safety, and pollutes the atmosphere. Yet, the amount and wide range of impurities documented by our team clearly demonstrate that currently used physical and chemical analyses of biomass fuels are not adequate to guarantee their high quality.
Objective: 1) Create/improve the method of petrographic quality assessment for wider range of solid biomass products (including intermediate crops, crop by-products, grass, and other agricultural waste). 2) Expand our research expertise into growing biomass technologies like gasification (holzgas), torrefaction (biomass suitable for co-firing in coal-fired power plants), and anaerobic digestion (production of a methane-rich biogas from wet biomass sources). 3) Investigate relationships between raw fuel composition and the properties of their combustion and gasification emissions with a focus on parameters that could be used to predict the environmental and health impacts of fuel use. 4) Promote the idea of including petrographic analysis in solid biomass quality assurance testing and product certification with manuscripts, and presentations. 5) Expand collaboration with international universities and industry. 6) Create an "umbrella" center.
Products: Peer reviewed manuscripts and conference presentations.
Benefits: After 3 years of research our laboratory is becoming a leading center in applying organic petrography techniques to study and improve quality of biomass based energy sources. This positions the IGWS might attract new collaboration and external funding sources.