Biomass
Ongoing Project

Converting waste into energy

Through the B3 (Biomass Waste-Bioenergy-Biochars) Challenge Group, Dr Vasiliki (Vicky) Skoulou and her team of researchers are developing efficient and resilient biomass waste-to-energy solutions, using novel and innovative processes.

Project summary

The Challenge

To address industrial challenges relating to biomass and waste feedstock usage and waste-to-energy production solutions.

The Approach

The team is developing novel processes with which to exploit underestimated waste streams for energy generation.

The Outcome

We are contributing to sustainable global biomass and waste-to-energy sector, generating low carbon energy and accelerating a net zero future for all.

Lead researchers

Funded by

Project partners

The Challenge

The B3 Challenge Group focusses on fundamental and applied industry-driven research for upgrading waste and waste-to-energy low carbon solutions. The group also develops novel processes to integrate RES with conventional energy production practices, for a sustainable resource usage and upgrading the waste streams to useful energy and fuels.

The group specialises in advanced thermal (pyrolysis)/thermochemical (carbonisation, gasification and clean combustion) processes of lignocellulosic biomass residues, fossil fuels, and waste of varying nature and their blends as well as the design of thermochemical reactors for bioenergy, H2 and chars- activated carbon production and emissions control.

Dr Vicky Skoulou - Developing novel biomass waste-to-energy solutions

The full research team

The Approach

Aims

  • To address industrial challenges relating to biomass and waste feedstock usage and waste-to-energy production solutions.
  • To work closely with industry and multidisciplinary international academia to generate ground-breaking research driven solutions with direct application to industrial processes for the benefit of the society.
  • To influence the development of waste to energy management strategic plans and guidelines.
  • To contribute to the global move towards a zero-carbon future via the clean growth elements of the UK’s Industrial Strategy, and UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To develop broad collaborative links between national and international academia, industry, NGOs and government, to promote low carbon, circular economy solutions to the energy crisis, and to mitigate the energy poverty in rural and low-income communities.
  • To train the future RES energy related engineers in order to provide resilient waste to energy related solutions for the benefit of the global communities

They achieve this by developing novel processes for the exploitation of underestimated waste streams for energy generation, upgrading them by novel pre-treatments and thermochemical processing (mainly pyrolysis, gasification and clean combustion) for sustainable energy production in residential and industrial sectors.

The B3 Challenge Group draws together Chemical Engineering expertise from the University of Hull and an inter- and multi-disciplinary pool of partners from industry and national and international academia such as KTH, QMU, ICL, AUTH, UCU, UCY, FEI, HMU, EUC, Petronas, Aston, and research institutes (DEMOCRITUS, CPERI/CERTH, MAICH, CERIDES). The group develops industrial problem-solving solutions to the challenges facing the bioenergy and biowaste upgrading sectors for industrial and residential sector.

Martin_Taylor_20210506_0018-min
Dr Martin Taylor - Postdoctoral Research Associate

The B3 Challenge group focusses on the pre-treatment of biomass waste, low carbon thermal/ thermochemical treatments including pyrolysis and gasification of lignocellulosic biomass feedstocks for syngas, H2 production and chars, pyrolysis products. Research activity aims to improve efficiencies at all stages of industrial bio waste-to-energy production from investigation of biomass feedstock pre-treatments, through development of thermochemical reactors for bioenergy production to manufacture of high-value chemical bi-products such as biochar.

One of the group’s projects has been to convert biomass waste into value added feedstock for solid biofuels and green energy production. The exploitation of alternative, green fuels such as the lignocellulosic (woody and herbaceous) biomass waste in energy production, offers the advantages of: i) improved waste management, ii) resource efficiency, iii) reduced dependence on imported energy and iv) increased renewables usage in power production. Low carbon thermochemical processes such as pyrolysis and gasification, in combination with exploitation of biomass waste can reduce the carbon footprint of the energy production sector and offer an additional source of income to farmers and agro industries.

The Impact

Research activity dealing with sustainable chemical engineering is helping industries around the world, and the outputs are directly applicable to the real-life challenges faced by the renewable energy sector. The B3 Challenge Group is contributing to the development of a sustainable biomass and waste-to-energy sector all over the world, and generates low carbon energy as part of the renewables mix needed for the UK to achieve its zero-carbon target.

The optimised biomass fuels developed by Dr Skoulou and her team will accelerate the decarbonization of the energy production sector. In this way any underestimated biomass ‘waste’ sources produced locally will be upgraded to a highly desirable and sustainable feedstock for further bioenergy related uses and innovation which is brought by a multidisciplinary approach in the field.