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21 Jan 2014

Deirdre Lynch awarded PhD

Carbolea member Deirdre Lynch today been awarded her PhD. Her thesis is entitled “Fluidised bed combustion of poultry litter with investigation into the ash chemistry”. Her work focused on every aspect of the process from input to output, and she was involved at every stage of the development and optimisation of the fluidised bed combustion unit. She conducted a detailed examination of the ash chemistry and inorganic elements which lead to agglomeration, and the behaviour of heavy metals contained in poultry litter during combustion.

13 Oct 2013

Carbolea Launches on Social Media Websites

The Carbolea Group now has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can Like/Follow us on these sites to keep up to date regarding all the latest developments in the group.

07 Sep 2013

XIth European Congress on Catalysis
1st - 6th September 2013 in Lyon, France

Dr. Dmitri Bulushev was giving a lecture at the XI. EuropaCat on "Hydrogen from Biomass Derived Formic Acid at about Ambient Temperature: Effective Pd/C Catalysts Doped by Potassium Ions"
The rates of hydrogen production from formic acid over Pd/C catalysts increased 1-2 orders of magnitude by doping with potassium ions. The doped catalysts were stable and gave low level of CO (<30 ppm). Highly dispersed K formate can be a key intermediate providing improved hydrogen generation on Pd sites.

The members Lijun Jia, Barbara Schaller and Áine O'Driscoll were presenting their projects on posters.

"Pt Fine Clusters Supported on Ni-doped Carbon Nanofibers as Active Sites for Hydrogen Production from Formic Acid" by Lijun Jia

"Direct Catalytic Conversion of Bio-Methane to Methanol" by Barbara Schaller

"The Catalytic Hydrogenation of Furfurfal" by Áine O'Driscoll

01 Sep 2013

Catalysis Training Course 2013
28th - 31st August 2013 Lyon - Villeurbanne

The Catalysis Training Course at the Doua scientific campus in Villeurbanne / Lyon was attended by the Carbolea members Monika Zacharska, Áine O'Driscoll and Barbara Schaller.

Several lectures in catalyst preparation, composition and applications as well as characterisation and modelling were offered.

15 Feb 2013

Catalysis Crossword Puzzles Published on Carbolea

A web site that provides supplementary material for the book:

"Heterogeneous Catalysis – Fundamentals and Applications" by Julian R.H. Ross (Elsevier, 2011)

Is now available on the Elsevier Store and on the corresponding TEC product pages:
Elsevier Store: By selecting the resources tab, you will see the link to the online companion materials. 

TEC Site: By clicking on the companion material button, you go to the website.

One of the features of this supplementary material, which includes web links given in the text of the book and PowerPoint slides corresponding to the contents of each chapter, is a set of crossword puzzles based on the material included in Chapters 2-8.  On the Elsevier web pages, these puzzles are included as Word documents and the solutions are given in separate Word documents. The puzzles are also available as interactive web pages from the links given below, the advantage of these being that they can be handled on the computer screen without the necessity to print them out.  The web version also has a “hint” function that allows a letter in the puzzle lattice to be displayed as an aid to making progress if needed.

Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8

NOTE: For technical reasons, not all the puzzles have exactly the same format as on the Elsevier web pages.  However, the words in each puzzle (and the corresponding clues) are unchanged.


An Electronic Version of the Book is Now Available

The original idea of the book was that it would be available for student use in electronic format in such a way that students could use it on laptops or tablets.  However, at the time of publication, the cost of this option was the same as that of the printed text. Elsevier is now offering an option to purchase the book in electronic form from Science Direct at a cost of €70.58 per copy for one year’s use for up to five users. It is to be hoped that this option will make it more suitable for student use than the option of purchasing print copies.

15 Feb 2013

Video Describing the DIBANET Hydrolysis Technology Uploaded to Carbolea

A presentation made by Carbolea member Dr Donncha Haverty at the DIBANET Networking Day in Thessaloniki, Greece has been uploaded. It contains his description of the state of the art biorefining technology that has been developed at Carbolea.

06 Jan 2013

Ray wins Munster 800m Masters Championship

Raymond McInerney (Carbolea member) had a facile win in the V2 Munster 800 M championships (indoor) at Nenagh.

04 Dec 2012

Review of the Commercial Prospects of Second Generation Biofuels Available Online

A new review paper by Carbolea member Daniel Hayes entitled "Second-generation biofuels: why they are taking so long" has been published online.

There has been a significant degree of hype regarding the commercial potential of second-generation biofuels (2GBs; biofuels sourced from lignocellulosic materials). In 2007, ambitious targets for the mass substitution of fossil-fuel-derived transport fuels by 2GBs were put forward in the United States and similar targets exist for other countries. However, as of May 2012, no commercial-scale 2GB facilities are currently operating. The technical and financial obstacles that have delayed the deployment of these facilities are discussed, as are recent advancements in research that may help to overcome some of these. There are six commercial?scale facilities currently (May, 2012) in construction and many more are planned in the near term. The prospects for 2GBs are more promising now than in the past but the delays in getting to this point mean that the ambitious targets of several years ago are unlikely to be reached in the near term.

02 Dec 2012

Pilot-Scale Pretreatment Reactor Constructed

A pilot-scale reactor system has been constructed and tested. This employs the patented pretreatment technology, developed as part of the DIBANET project, for the separation of biomass into its lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose components.

It has been shown that the pretreatment process can allow for higher yields of levulinic acid and furfural in the DIBANET hydrolysis process and the lignin fraction is also recoverable and of high value. The system is housed in an industrial state in Nenagh, close to the University of Limerick, where the continuous pilot-scale DIBANET hydrolysis reactor system is also located.

01 Dec 2012

Petrobras Joins DIBANET as a Project Partner

We are pleased to announce that Petrobras has joined the DIBANET consortium, which is headed by Carbolea.

Petrobras, a major Brazilian energy corporation that produces enough oil to meet the needs of Brazil, has shown increasing interest in recent years in the production of sustainable biofuels and chemicals. The Company, which has been collaborating with Prof. Victor Teixeira da Silva, a researcher at DIBANET partner UFRJ, for some time, became interested in the DIBANET project during the Summer School and Networking Event, organised by Prof. Teixeira for the project, in Rio de Janeiro in 2010.

DIBANET project leader Prof. Michael Hayes, remarked that: “The addition of Petrobras to the DIBANET consortium is a significant event and a great reflection of the progress that has been achieved in the project. Petrobras will be of immense help in allowing us to determine the most appropriate ways to advance towards the commercialisation of the advanced processes that we have developed over the past three years”.

27 Nov 2012

DIBANET Feedstocks Report and Guidelines of Best Practice

A report discussing the analytical results obtained for European and Latin American biomass feedstocks as part of the DIBANET project can now be downloaded from Cabolea in full length (150 pages) and also in abridged form (16 pages).

These reports are useful companions to the DIBANET Chemical Database.

22 Nov 2012

Fergus Melligan Awarded PhD

Carbolea member Fergus Melligan today passed his PhD viva. His thesis is entitled “Pyrolysis of Biomass and Biorefinery Residual Materials for the Production of Advanced Biofuels”. He has been involved in the DIBANET project producing and characterising biochar and bio-oil from the acid hydrolysis residues. He has also carried out pot-trials to determine the effects that the addition of this biochar to soil may have on plant growth.

19 Nov 2012

Daniel Hayes Presents at III Latin American Congress on Biorefineries

Today Carbolea Member Daniel Hayes gave a presentation entitled "Collaboration in Biorefinery Research Between Europe and Latin America" at the III Latin American Congress on Biorefineries in Pucon, Chile. This talk covered the work that Carbolea has undertaken as part of the DIBANET project.

The presentation can be accessed here.

31 Oct 2012

DIBANET Networking Day Held in Thessaloniki, Greece

The DIBANET research consortium presented the "Diesel miscible fuels from wastes, residues and non-food crops of Latin America & Europe" Networking event today at CERTH, in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The aim of the event was to bring together key players in scientific communities and industry to discuss how Europe and Latin America can work together to produce diesel fuels sustainably and cheaply. The DIBANET processes and the key results of the project were presented.

The presentations and posters are available in the "Agenda" and "Poster" sections of the DIBANET website.

29 Oct 2012

Final DIBANET Project Meeting Held in Thessaloniki, Greece

The final meeting of the DIBANET project was held between 29-31 October at the headquarters of project partner CERTH in Thessaloniki, Greece.

This meeting allowed for partners to put forward the excellent results that have been achieved in the project and to also discuss the final area remaining; the financial and technical modelling of the DIBANET process chain.

25 Oct 2012

Daniel Hayes Presents at 1st Iberoamerican Congress on Biorefineries

Today Carbolea Member Daniel Hayes gave a presentation entitled "DIBANET, An integrated approach for making the best use of biomass" at the 1st Iberoamerican Congress on Biorefineries in Los Cabos, Mexico. This talk covered the work that Carbolea has undertaken as part of the DIBANET project.

The presentation can be accessed here.

03 Sep 2012

Miscanthus Analytical Database Software Available for Download

A detailed electronic database of the analysis carried out on Miscanthus samples in the Carbolea laboratories can now be downloaded for free from Carbolea. This Database is an output of a project funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It allows for comparisons to be made regarding the changes in relative mass proportions of different plant fractions (e.g. stems and leaves) over the course of a harvest window and also for observations on how the chemical composition varies over this period and within different parts of the plant.

05 Jul 2012

Paper Published on the Near Infrared Analysis of Miscanthus

A paper has been published containing the development of near infrared spectroscopy models for the quantitative prediction of the lignocellulosic constituents of wet Miscanthus samples. This work was carried out under a Department of Agriculture funded project and the DIBANET project. The paper can be accessed at ScienceDirect or downloaded directly from Carbolea (the supplemental material can be accessed here).

Abstract: Miscanthus samples were scanned over the visible and near infrared wavelengths at several stages of processing (wet-chopped, air-dried, dried and ground, and dried and sieved). Models were developed to predict lignocellulosic and elemental constituents based on these spectra. The dry and sieved scans gave the most accurate models; however the wet-chopped models for glucose, xylose, and Klason lignin provided excellent accuracies with root mean square error of predictions of 1.27%, 0.54%, and 0.93%, respectively. These models can be suitable for most applications. The wet models for arabinose, Klason lignin, acid soluble lignin, ash, extractives, rhamnose, acid insoluble residue, and nitrogen tended to have lower R2 values (0.80+) for the validation sets and the wet models for galactose, mannose, and acid insoluble ash were less accurate, only having value for rough sample screening. This research shows the potential for online analysis at biorefineries for the major lignocellulosic constituents of interest.

25 Jun 2012

DIBANET Project Meeting Held at Carbolea

A review meeting for the EU FP7 project DIBANET was held at Carbolea. This was attended by numerous project partners from Europe and Latin America. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity to present the recent progress made and to discuss ways in which this can be moved forward in a commercial context. The meeting also involved an excursion to the operational DIBANET pilot reactor system. Some photos are included below.

23 May 2012

Paper Published on Metal Ions Adsorption on Biochar

A paper has been published containing work conducted at the University of Limerick and at the Maria Cure-Sklodowska University in Lublin.

Abstract: Kinetic and adsorption studies on the removal of metal ions such as Cu(II), Zn(II), Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions in the biochar (BC) samples have been carried out. The effects of several experimental parameters have been investigated using the batch adsorption technique at room temperature. The effectiveness of Cu(II), Zn(II), Cd(II) and Pb(II) ions removal increases with the increasing initial concentration of biochar and metal ion, pH as well as phase contact time. The maximum adsorption was found in the pH range 5.0-6.0. The kinetics of adsorption was found to be pseudo second order with intraparticle diffusion as one of the rate determining steps. Adsorption studies were also performed at different temperatures and modelled with the Langmuir and Freundlich adsorption isotherms.

Kolodynska D., Wnetrzak R., , Leahy J.J., Hayes, M. H. B., Kwapinski, W., Hubicki Z. Adsorptive characterisation of biochar in heavy metal ions removal. Chemical Engineering Journal 2012 - in press http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2012.05.025

18 May 2012

Prof Erik Heeres and Prof Hans de Vries visited Carbolea group

Two distinctive researchers from University of Groningen (Holland) visited our labs and pilot plant installation for acid hydrolysis of biomass (DIBANET). Both parties will be looking for possible research collaborations. The guests gave a lectures on "Recent developments in pyrolysis oil upgrading" - Erik Heeres and "HMF synthesis and derivatives" and "Cashew nut valorisation" - Hans de Vries.

01 Mar 2012

Paper Published on Pyrolysis of Residues from the DIBANET Process

A paper has been published containing work by Carbolea members on the pyrolysis of the acid hydrolysis residues that are produced as a byproduct of the DIBANET process. The paper is entitled "Characterisation of the products from pyrolysis of residues after acid hydrolysis of Miscanthus" and can be downloaded from ScienceDirect.

Abstract: Platform chemicals such as furfural and hydroxymethylfurfural are major products formed during the acid hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass in second generation biorefining processes. Solid hydrolysis residues (HR) can amount to 50 wt.% of the starting biomass materials. Pyrolysis of the HRs gives rise to biochar, bio-liquids, and gases. Time and temperature were variables during the pyrolysis of HRs in a fixed bed tubular reactor, and both parameters have major influences on the amounts and properties of the products. Biochar, with potential for carbon sequestration and soil conditioning, composed about half of the HR pyrolysis product. The amounts (11–20 wt.%) and compositions (up to 77% of phenols in organic fraction) of the bio-liquids formed suggest that these have little value as fuels, but could be sources of phenols, and the gas can have application as a fuel.

Melligan, F., Dussan, K., Auccaise, R., Novotny, E. H., Leahy, J. J., Hayes, M. H. B., Kwapinski, W. (2012) Characterisation of the products from pyrolysis of residues after acid hydrolysis of Miscanthus, Bioresource Technology, 108, 258-263

15 Jan 2012

Daniel Hayes and Corinna Byrne Graduate with PhDs

Daniel Hayes and Corinna Byrne today attended a graduation ceremeny and received their PhDs. Dan was supervised by Dr J. J. Leahy and his thesis was entitled "Analysis of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks for Biorefineries with a Focus on The Development of Near Infrared Spectroscopy as a Primary Analytical Tool". Corinna was supervised by Prof. Michael Hayes and her thesis was entitled "Studies of the Organic Matter Components in Irish Grassland Soils and Their Drainage Waters".

Daniel Hayes's PhD Viva presentation can be downloaded here, and the Thesis can also be downloaded from Carbolea: Volume 1, Volume 2.

11 Jan 2012

Paper on DIBANET Pretreatment Process Published Online

A new paper, written by several members of the Carbolea DIBANET team, was published online today. It covers the development of a new pretreatment process for biomass. The paper is entitled "Autothermal, single-stage, performic acid pretreatment of Miscanthus x giganteus for the rapid fractionation of its biomass components into a lignin/hemicellulose-rich liquor and a cellulase-digestible pulp" and can be obtained, by those with ScienceDirect subscriptions here or can be downloaded directly from Carbolea.

This work describes a novel pretreatment process suitable for Second Generation Biorefining, which is able to separate the main substrates in biomass through a fast and efficient oxidative reaction. A detailed compositional characterization of the products of the process is included, as well as the evaluation of the enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulosic fraction separated from Miscanthus during the experiments. The paper shows how cellulose in biomass can be separated as a solid product from the lignin and hemicellulose components in solution in a hydrogen peroxide and formic acid system. The lignin is recovered as a precipitate when the solution extract is diluted with water.

Abstract: A novel approach to the performic acid pulping of biomass enables effective delignification and fractionation in a time frame not achieved heretofore. An autothermal decomposition reaction was triggered when 100 mg/L Fe2(SO4)3 in 4.0 M NaOH was added to 5% or 7.5% H2O2 in aqueous formic acid containing chipped Miscanthus x giganteus. Peroxy-decomposition resulted in pressures of 19 and 35 bar in the 5% and 7.5% peroxide liquors and reduced the lignin content in the resulting pulps to <6% within 140 and 30 min, respectively. Solubilised lignin was available for recovery from the liquor by subsequent dilution with water. Hemicellulose removal to the liquor was 68% and 89% for the 5% and 7.5% peroxide solutions. Crystalline cellulose yields were >99% and >95% and the rate of glucose release from cellulase digestion of the pulps in 24 h was more than 20-fold that for the raw Miscanthus.

Haverty, D., Dussan, K., Piterina, A. V., Leahy J. J., Hayes, M. H. B. (2012) Autothermal, single-stage, performic acid pretreatment of Miscanthus x giganteus for the rapid fractionation of its biomass components into a lignin/hemicellulose-rich liquor and a cellulase-digestible pulp, Bioresource Technology (109), 173-177

09 Jan 2012

DIBANET Meeting Takes Places in Santiago, Chile

A DIBANET project review meeting took place at the headquarters of project partner Fundacion Chile, in Santiago, Chile, between Jan 9-11. Extensive discussions took place regarding the significant work achieved so far in the project and how future work should proceed.

01 Jan 2012

Rosaleen Undertakes Research at Monash University, Melbourne

Rosaleen Mylottte has availed of an EU Marie Curie Award to research with Professor Tony Patti in the Chemistry Department of Monash University, Melbourne. This will be a 9 month scholarship. Rosaleen is conducting her reseach in collaboration with Prof. Antonio Patti and Prof. Alan Chaffe while in Monash University. She will play an active role as a member of Prof. Patti’s reseach group in the School of Green Chemistry. At Monash University she will conduct solid state NMR spectroscopy, Py-GCMS, δ 13C, XRF, TGA and elemental analysis on extracted humic material. This research will add to and enhance her PhD research on humic substances in estuarine sediments.

01 Dec 2011

Mark Asworth Moves to TCBB

Carbolea member Mark Ashworth has moved from working on the DIBANET project to a new position in the TCBB project (The Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy). This project involves the organisation of industry members, academic experts, institutions and government agencies working together to expedite the commercial development of the vast potential of the Irish biomass resource. Mark's previous work as a Research Assistant has helped him develop a substantial wealth of experience and analytical skill primarily focused on the preparation and chemical analysis of energy crops, peat, agricultural residues and wastes. Mark's new position involves greater responsibilities and duties such as conducting routine preventative maintenance and servicing to sustain peak performance levels and trouble-free operation (a role including the training and supervision of students) on equipment and instrumentation within the Carbolea labs. Other roles include assisting with planning, establishing, implementing, and maintaining a variety of occupational health, safety, and environmental programs to assure the highest possible degree of safety and operation for students and employees between the Carbolea Laboratories and the Chemical and Environmental Science dept. to ensure these function within the codes and practices of the University.

18 Nov 2011

Deirdre Undertakes Research at Monash University, Melbourne

Deirdre Lynch has availed of an EU-Oceania Social Science Inter-regional Consortium (EUOSSIC) Award to research with Dr Lian Zhang in the Chemical Engineering Department of Monash University, Melbourne. This will be a 9 month scholarship. Deirdre is conducting her research in collaboration with Dr Lian Zhang while in Monash University where she will undertake further investigation into the ash agglomeration issues associated with the combustion of poultry litter. This research will add to and enhance her PhD research, and it will establish collaborative links between the two Universities .

28 Sep 2011

Michael Hayes Presents at IUPAC XIX Conference in Kuala Lumpur

Michael Hayes today gave a presentation at CHEMRAWN XIX in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His talk covered many of the areas of study at Carbolea, including the DIBANET project and biochar. The presentation can be downloaded here. Another presentation was given by Prof. Roger Swift, of the University of Queensland, in conjunction with Prof. Hayes on Sep 29th. That presentation can be downloaded here.

05 Sep 2011

Alen Horvat Joins Carbolea

Alen Horvat today joined the Carbolea team. He previously worked as an intern at Carbolea during the summer of 2010 and has now returned to undertake a PhD via the Earth and Natural Sciences Doctoral Study Programme. His project is entitled "Tar mitigation of biosyngas production". The reduction of tar can be achieved via different approaches. System modification related to type of gasifier, temperatures, media agent, bed material, catalyst involved, feedstock pretreatment, ... To choose right approach to tar reduction, quality and quantity of tar have to be known. A target feedstock for this in the Carbolea group is Miscanthus Agricultures residue like straw, mushroom compost, and manures can also be utilized.

29 Aug 2011

Carbolea Student Attends 1st European Training Course on Biorefining

The biorefining training course took place in Paris from August 29th to September 1st, and it was organized by the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique – INRA (France) and the SEVAB graduate school (University of Toulouse), in collaboration with partners of the FP7 european project BIOCORE. The training sessions included topics such as biotechnology, Green Biorefinery, Sustainability, and new challenges in the Biorefining industry. Some additional modules included as well topics such as the design, optimization and multicriteria assessment of biorefinery processes. The summerschool dedicated one day to visit the biorefining complex at Bazancourt, which has several companies and enterpreneur projects directed by Agro Industrie Recherchers & Developments – ARD. ARD is a developing company created in 1989 with expertise in biomass fractionation, biotechnology, bio-based chemistry. Its facilities include a 2000 tons capacity plant which processes currently maize and sugarbeet for the production of fuel ethanol. Other projects are part of this complex, such as Futurol and CMV (biomass fractionation). You can check the training modules of the summerschool, which are available as videos here. This event was attended by Carbolea member Karla Dussan.

22 Aug 2011

Passing Away of Toshko Zhelev

It is with great sadness and regret for us to inform of the death of our colleague Toshko Zhelev;who passed away over the weekend following a short illness. Toshko was a highly respected and valued member of the Chemical & Environmental Sciences department and of Carbolea. We would like to express our sincere condolences to Toshko’s wife Sonia, daughter Sylvia, extended family and friends.

10 Aug 2011

Review of Catalysis in Biomass Conversion Published

Carbolea members Dmitri Bulushev and Julian R.H. Ross have published a review article entitled "Catalysis for conversion of biomass to fuels via pyrolysis and gasification: a review". This review has entered the list of Top Hottest Downloaded articles of the Catalysis Today journal for January-March, 2011. It is expected that it will be still in this list in the future. This review contains 126 references and can be strongly recommended for students and researchers who are starting their work on catalytic conversion of biomass via pyrolysis and gasification. The paper can be obtained from ScienceDirect or downloaded directly from Carbolea.

Abstract. A current aim of society is to produce fuels from non-food biomass and catalysis is central to achieving this aim. Catalytic steam-reforming of biomass gives synthesis gas and this can be further transformed to give transport fuels using catalysis. Biofuels and fuel additives can also be obtained by catalytic upgrading of bio-oil produced by non-catalytic pyrolysis of biomass. This upgrading can be performed by low tem- perature esterification with alcohols (followed by water separation) or by high temperature gasification, cracking or hydrotreating processes. Upgraded bio-oil can also be obtained by pyrolysis of biomass in the presence of catalysts. This review considers recent trends in the chemistry of these processes for biofuel production and the catalysts used.

Bulushev,D.A., Ross,J.R.H. Catalysis for conversion of biomass to fuels via pyrolysis and gasification: a review. Catalysis Today 171 (2011) 1

08 Jul 2011

Julian Ross Book Published

Carbolea member Julian R.H. Ross has written a book “Heterogeneous Catalysis. Fundamentals and Applications” which is expected to be released in November, 2011 by Elsevier.

Heterogeneous catalysis plays a part in the production of more than 80% of all chemical products. It is therefore essential that all chemists and chemical engineers have an understanding of the fundamental principles as well as the applications of heterogeneous catalysts. This book introduces the subject, starting at a basic level, and includes sections on adsorption and surface science, catalytic kinetics, experimental methods for preparing and studying heterogeneous catalysts, as well as some aspects of the design of industrial catalytic reactors. It ends with a chapter that covers a range of examples of important catalytic processes.

The book leads the student to carrying out a series of "tasks"; based on searches of the internet and also on the use of web-based search tools such as Scopus or Web of Science. These tasks are generally based on the text; they can be used entirely for self-study but they can also be tailored to the requirements of a particular course by the instructor/lecturer giving the course.

The author has had over 40 years of experience in catalytic research as well as in lecturing on the principles of catalysis. He was for more than 20 years the Editor of Catalysis Today.

29 Jun 2011

DIBANET Meeting Takes Places in Thessaloniki, Greece

DIBANET held its second project review meeting in Thessaloniki on 29 June and 1 July. The meeting included a general review of work-to-date and advance on the different components of the project. The meeting was hosted by the Chemical Process Engineering Research Institute (CPERI). In addition, partner leaders and technical presentations were attended by Hube Stassen, reviewer on behalf of FP7 direction and European expert on the thermochemical conversion of biomass.
Some of the most relevant progress is summarized as follow:

- A potential fast-pretreatment technology has been developed at the University of Limerick to fractionate biomass in an efficient and fast stage before the acid hydrolysis for the production of levulinic acid.

- Advances were shown at the University of Limerick regarding to the construction of a pilot-scale continuous unit that will evaluate optimal operational conditions both in the pretreatment and hydrolysis stage for the levulinic acid production.

- New materials and catalyst has been produced at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and University of Buenos Aires that will be used in different processes such as ethyl levulinate production, biomass processing and bio-oil esterification.

- Evaluation of the use of Acid-Hydrolysis Residue for production of both bio-oil and bio-char were discussed by partners at Aston University and CPERI, as well as the quality of the products obtained regarding to bio-oil upgrading with acid-catalysts and soil amendment, respectively.

In consideration of new promising results and drawbacks during the last year, partners remarked on the importance of the partnership and feedback between the different parts of the general process that is being considered in DIBANET in order to address towards an efficient and commercial process evaluated be means of LCA analysis and economic studies.

26 Jun 2011

Funding for Catalytic Conversion of Levulinic Acid to Fuels

Dmitri Bulushev and Julian R.H. Ross have got funding (about 90,000 euros) from Science Foundation of Ireland for 2 years Research Frontiers Programme project. The title of the project is “The catalytic conversion of levulinic acid derived from biomass to fuel additives”. The project will start on 1st September 2011.

08 Jun 2011

Karla Presents Pretreatment Research Poster at the 7th International Conference on Renewable Resources and Biorefineries

The seventh edition of the International Conference on Renewable Resources and Biorefineries was hold in Bruges, Belgium, on 8 – 10 June 2011. PhD student from the DIBANET project, Karla Dussan, presented partial results on the oxidative pretreatment for biomass for the fractionation of cellulosic materials during the poster session. The results presented at the event can be downloaded here.

12 May 2011

DIBANET Catalyst Workshop Takes Place at Carbolea

Members of the DIBANET research project team from Europe and Latin America recently came together for a two day research workshop hosted by Carbolea. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss progress in the development of the DIBANET process, with a heavy emphasis on the role of catalysis in the production of diesel miscible biofuels from European and Latin American feedstocks.

Acid hydrolysis of biomass feedstocks for the production of levulinic acid is being carried out in the DIBANET reactor system at the University of Limerick. Promising results from the development of a pre-treatment to reduce the recalcitrance of biomass, resulting in an improvement in the hydrolysis yields were discussed. A pre-treatment system utilising catalysts developed by partner UBA was also examined.

Latin American partner UFRJ are undertaking catalytic esterification reactions of levulinc acid and ethanol to produce ethyl levulinate and upgrading of bio-oil using catalysts developed in-house and by UBA.

The residual materials from the hyrdrolysis process are being examined by UK partner Aston University for their potential as a feedstock for pyrolysis to produce bio-oil. CERTH from Greece are investigating the role that catalysts can play in improving the yield of bio-oil from the pyrolysis of the acid hydrolysis residues.

30 Apr 2011

Eight Postgraduate Positions Available at Carbolea (Now FIlled)

We are happy to announce that seven PhD positions and one MSc positions are available at Carbolea. These are listed below:

PhD Projects:

The Combustion of Biofuels under Combustor Relevant Conditions (2 PhDs Available)

Click Here for More Details

Use of functionalised mesoporous silicas for pyrolysis oil upgrading (One PhD Available)

Click Here for More Details

Catalytic conversion of biomethane to methanol and higher alcohols (2 PhDs Available)

Click Here for More Details

Tar mitigation in biosyngas production (One PhD Available)

Click Here for More Details

The hydrogenation of furfural to furfuryl alcohol (One PhD Available)

Click Here for More Details

MSc Project:

The project will deal with catalytic conversion of some biomass derived intermediates to fuel additives. The student will work and be fully financially supported for 2 years by Science Foundation Ireland. For more details on this project contact Dmitri Bulushev.

12 Apr 2011

Paper Published on Hydrogenation by Biomass Derived Formic Acid

Dmitri Bulushev and Julian R.H. Ross have published a paper entitled "Vapour phase hydrogenation of olefins by formic acid over a Pd/C catalyst". This paper can be obtained from ScienceDirect or downloaded directly from Carbolea.

Abstract: It has been found that ethylene and propylene could be effectively hydrogenated by formic acid vapour over a Pd/carbon catalyst at low temperatures (<440 K). Surface hydrogen formation from formic acid is the rate-determining step for this hydrogenation reaction. Interaction of this hydrogen with the olefins is then fast. The conversion of formic acid in the presence of either of the olefins at any temperature is higher than in their absence. This has been explained by amuch lower surface hydrogen concentration in the presence of the olefins. Direct experiments have confirmed that hydrogen inhibits the formic acid decomposition. Water vapour addition has a small positive effect on the decomposition of formic acid as well as on the hydrogenation of the olefins with formic acid. Catalysts consisting of gold supported on carbon or titania are both active in the production of hydrogen from formic acid. However, in contrast to the Pd/C catalyst, neither gives hydrogenation of the olefins with this acid.

Bulushev,D.A., Ross,J.R.H. Vapour phase hydrogenation of olefins by formic acid over a Pd/C catalyst. Catalysis Today, 2011, v. 163, p. 42-46

01 Feb 2011

Paper Published on Pressurised Pyrolysis of Miscanthus

A paper, entitled "Pressurised pyrolysis of Miscanthus using a frixed bed reactor" has been published.It can be downloaded from ScienceDirect.

Abstract: Miscanthus x giganteus was pyrolysed, in a fixed bed reactor in a constant flow of dinitrogen gas, at a rate of 13 °C/min from ambient to 550 °C, then held for 25 min at this temperature. The pressures employed ranged from atmospheric to 26 bar. The major compounds identified in the bio-oil were water, phenol, and phenol derivatives. The water contents impact on the usefulness of the bio-oil as a fuel. However, the phenols could provide useful platform chemicals and products.

Melligan, F., Auccaise, R., Novotny, E. H., Leahy, J. J., Hayes, M. H. B., Kwapinski, W. (2011) Pressurised pyrolysis of Miscanthus using a frixed bed reactor, Bioresource Technology, 102, 3466-3470

26 Jan 2011

Daniel Hayes Presents at COST Meeting in Paris

Today Carbolea Member Daniel Hayes gave a presentation entitled "NIRS Analysis of Wet Miscanthus Samples - Development of NIRS as a Primary Analytical Tool" at a meeting of members of COST group FP0901 (Analytical Techniques for Biorefineries) in Paris. This talk covered the development, as part of the DIBANET project, of near infrared spectroscopy models for predicting the lignocellulosic composition of Miscanthus samples. The presentation can be accessed here.

13 Dec 2010

DIBANET Summer School Takes Place

The DIBANET Summer School, aimed at providing in-depth information on technologies for the sustainable production of second generation diesel fuels, took place recently at the Federal University of Rio de Janeirofrom December 13th to 16th 2010. The School was designed for postgraduate students (Masters and PhD) in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, typically in their first or second years of research, who wanted to engage in the examination of technologies for the sustainable production of second generation diesel fuels, chemicals and biochars from the wastes, residues and non-food crops of Latin America and Europe. 

The Summer School took place over four days. Day one overlapped with the DIBANET Networking Day and gave students a valuable opportunity to engage with leading players in the scientific and industrial communities. The remainder of the summer school examined hydrolysis and thermal processing of biomass for second generation biofuel production. This included a series of lectures on carbohydrates chemistry, biomass characterization, hydrolysis, and products analysis as well as on pyrolysis, characterisation of pyrolysis products, catalytic pyrolysis and catalytic upgrading of products. The course offered a unique opportunity for interaction with fellow students and leading international scientific and industrial experts from Europe and Latin America. It was not "all work and no play" either, as there was also plenty of social interaction. 

Carbolea members Daniel Hayes, Michael Hayes, and Buana Girisuta all gave presentations at the Summer school. All of the presentations made can be access via the e-learning tool of the DIBANET website.

13 Dec 2010

DIBANET Networking Day Held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The DIBANET research consortium presented "Diesel fuels from wastes, residues and non-food crops of Latin America & Europe" at the DIBANET Networking Day that was held on December 13th 2010 at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Networking day brought together key players in scientific communities and industry to discuss how Europe and Latin America can work together to produce diesel fuels sustainably and cheaply.

Presentations were made and discussions took place on new methods for the sustainable production of diesel fuels from wastes and residues. Speakers included DIBANET partners from Europe and Latin America. 

Topics covered included:

- Latin American and European feedstocks for diesel fuel production

- Technologies for sustainable diesel fuel production and their products

- Catalysis in diesel fuel production.

- Newly developed analytical techniques for online feedstock characterisation

An overview of the programme is available on the DIBANET website where the presentations from project partners can be downloaded.

The presentations given by Carbolea members can be downloaded below:

"Introduction to the Biorefinery Concept" - Daniel Hayes

"Introduction to the DIBANET Concept" - Michael Hayes

"European Feedstocks" - Daniel Hayes

Chet Culver, Governor of Iowa and representative of the Governors Biofuel Coalition in the United States, presented at the DIBANET Networking Day, where he outlined Iowa’s activities in the renewable energy sector. Petrobras, the fourth largest energy company in the world, also attended and were keen to learn about technologies being developed by DIBANET. 

The Networking day was combined with a Poster session to present the current DIBANET achievements. You can find photos from the event and from the poster session on the DIBANET website.

11 Dec 2010

DIBANET Project Meeting at Rio de Janeiro

Today a project review meeting for the DIBANET project was held at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. This allowed for discussion to take place regarding the significant progress achieved in the project and our future plans.

01 Dec 2010

Research by Carbolea Members Published by the EPA

Carbolea members conducted a research project entitled ‘Acquisition of essential data for assessment for carbon sequestration by soils’. The major aim of this project was to provide seminal information about the nature and associations of the organic matter in Irish soils and in drainage waters with a view to establishing the extent to which Irish soils could act as sinks for carbon.
The report can be accessed on the EPA website.

Hayes, M.H.B., Byrne, C.M.P., Song, G., Ferriera, J., Novotny, E.H. Acquisition of essential data for assessment for carbon sequestration by soils. STRIVE EPA report 2010.

18 Nov 2010

Daniel Hayes Presents at Dionex Meeting and Globe Forum

Carbolea member Daniel Hayes today gave 2 presentations in Dublin. The first was presented to attendees of a meeting arranged by Dionex, the subject matter concerned the chromatography method that he has prepared at Carbolea, allowing for lignocellulosic samples to be analysed rapidly with minimal preparation steps. That presentation can be downloaded here. The second presentation was made at the Globe Forum and covered many of the Carbolea research areas. That presentation can be downloaded here.

27 Sep 2010

Daniel Hayes Presents at EPA Waste to Resource Conference

Carbolea member Daniel Hayes today gave a presentation on the subject of biochar to the EPA Waste to Resource Conference in Dublin. That presentation can be downloaded here.

12 Sep 2010

Carbolea Members Present at International Biochar Conference

Corinna Byrne and Prof. Michael Hayes attended the 3rd International Biochar Conference: IBI 2010, in Rio de Janeiro, September 12 – 15, 2010. Corinna gave a presentation on biochar from biorefinery residuals. The residuals from the DIBANET biorefinery process are subjected to pyrolytic processing at different reactor temperatures and at different hot vapour and solids residence times in order to determine the optimum processing conditions for the production of the biochar, bio-oil, and syngas pyrolysis products. A detailed characterization of the biochars was carried out and the efficacies of the biochars were tested for the promotion of plant growth and for uses as soil amenders. Biochars from Miscanthus x giganteus, pine, and willow were compared with those of the pyrolysed residuals from the biorefining of Miscanthus, and maize (Zea mays L) seedlings were grown on soil amended with these biochars. The paper can be downloaded here and the presentation here.

Prof. Hayes gave a presentation on the development of a biochar classification system by the Carbolea research group. It is very important to develop a biochar preparation nd testing protocol that that will allow classification of biochar products in terms of their properties for uses in agriculture. The paper can be downloaded here.

01 Sep 2010

Paper Published on Hydrogen from Biomass Derived Formic Acid

Dmitri Bulushev and Julian R.H. Ross have published a paper entitled "Hydrogen from formic acid decomposition over Pd and Au catalysts". This paper can be obtained from ScienceDirect or downloaded directly from Carbolea.

Abstract: Vapour phase decomposition of formic acid has been studied systematically over a range of catalysts: 1.0 and 10 wt.% Pd/C, 0.8 wt.% Au/C and 1.0 wt.% Au/TiO2. The mean metal particle size of these materials was estimated by HRTEM and turnover frequencies were calculated using these data. The Au/C catalyst was the least active and the Pd/C catalysts were the most active for the formic acid decomposition reaction. At about 400 K, these Pd catalysts gave up to 0.04 moles of H2 per minute per gram of Pd, with a selectivity of 95–99%. The H2 selectivity for these catalysts was found to be only weakly dependent on the reaction temperature and the formic acid conversion. The Au/TiO2 catalyst showed only a moderate selectivity to H2 formation (<70%). The selectivity of this catalyst was improved considerably by the introduction of water vapour. This improvement derived from the high activity of the catalyst for the water–gas shift reaction.

Bulushev,D.A., Beloshapkin,S., Ross,J.R.H.Hydrogen from formic acid decomposition over Pd and Au catalysts. Catalysis Today, 2010, v. 154, p. 7-12

01 Aug 2010

Carbolea Humic Research Presented at the 19th World Congress of Soil Science

Prof. Michael H.B. Hayes presented a paper entitled ‘The Isolation and Chacterisation of Humic Substances and Humin from Grey Brown Podzolic and Gley Grassland Soils’ at the 19th World Congress of Soil Science which was held in Brisbane, Queensland in August 2010. This research involved an exhaustive extraction of the classical humic components of SOM, including the isolation of humin residues by novel procedures from a well drained Grey Brown Podzol and of the humin materials from a poorly drained Gley soil. 13C (solid state) and 1H (liquid state) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy techniques were employed to show differences in the compositions of the different isolates. That paper can be downloaded here.

02 Jul 2010

DIBANET Press Release Following Buenos Aires Meeting

Today a press release was issued regarding the recent DIBANET meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It covers the advances made to date in the project. The press release can be accessed here.

28 Jun 2010

Dr Buana Girisuta Joins the Research Group

Today Dr Buana Girisuta. He is a in a post-doc position and will be involved in the DIBANET project. He will be developing methods to analyse the products of the reactor system that is being developed in DIBANET.

27 Jun 2010

Presentations by Carbolea Members at IHSS Symposium in Teneriffe

Carbolea members present their research at the 15th Meeting of the International Humic Substances SocietyHumic Substances and the Maintenance of Ecosystem Services”, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain 27th June – 2nd July 2010.

Michael H.B. Hayes has been invited to give a keynote lecture on ‘Evolution of Modern Concepts of the Compositions of Humic Substances’. The presentation will look at how research using advanced analytical techniques has shaped our knowledge about the compositions of humic substances.

Michael will also present a paper co-authored by Corinna M.P. Byrne and colleagues Prof. Roger S. Swift and Dr. Andre J. Simpson. This paper “Humin: The Simplest of the Humic Substances?” will describe in details how the structure of humin, the most recalcitrant fraction of soil organic matter, has been unravelled. The paper can be downloaded here.

A poster on “Changes in dissolved organic matter losses from soils under different management” authored by Corinna M.P. Byrne, Michael H.B. Hayes and Dr. Andre J Simpson will be presented which summaries the research finding recently published by Byrne et al., 2010 in Water Research. This poster can be downloaded here and the paper here.

Oceans are the largest global carbon pool and are estimated to hold approximately 38,000 PgC (petagrams of carbon). The oceanic sediments contain 150 Pg of organic matter (OM). Rosaleen Mylotte will present her work on the Study of Estuarine Sediments in Galway Bay, Ireland both orally and by poster. This work, co-authored by Prof. Michael HB Hayes and Dr. Catherine Dalton (Mary Immaculate College, Limeick, Ireland), examines core samples from the transitional waters in Galway Bay. A main focus of the study is the effect that the estuary is having on the bay especially, with regards to the organic matter (OM) present. OM is washed into the Bay from the River Corrib and its tributary streams. OM is a reservoir of carbon (in sediments) and an important sink. Studying the organic and inorganic colloidal components contained within the estuarine sediments can give indications of changes that have occurred over time to the composition of the matter transported to the estuary and will provide an insight into the composition of carbon sequestered in the sediments. The project is studying in detail the compositions of the HS at different depths and their associations with the sediments. The poster can be downloaded here.

Research data from Carbolea’s work on Biochar will also be presented in Tenerife. A paper entitled “Properties of Biochar Produced from Miscanthus x giganteus and its Influence the Growth of Maize (Zea mays L.)” authored by Dr. Witold Kwapinski, P. Wolfram, Corinna M.P. Byrne, Fergus Melligan, Dr. Etelvino H. Novotny, Dr. J.J. Leahy, Prof. Michael H.B. Hayes, will be presented which summaries the research finding recently published by Kwapinski et al., 2010 in Waste and Biomass Valorization. The IHSS paper abstract can be downloaded here.

Work on the “Extraction of High-Value Lipids from Irish Peats” will be presented as a poster by Raymond McInerney, co-authored by Daniel J. Hayes, Dr. J.J. Leahy and Prof. Michael HB. Hayes.


18 Jun 2010

Karla Joins the Research Group

Today Karla Dussan joined the Carbolea group. She is a PhD student that is working on the DIBANET project, and her research involves the assessment of pre-treatments (e.g. ionic liquids) for the acid hydrolysis of biomass to levulinic acid. Karla comes from Colombia and her resuearch is funded by the DIBANET Latin America Scholarship scheme.

15 Jun 2010

Michael Hayes Awarded President's Medal

Michael Hayes was today honoured at the University of Limerick as a recipient of the President's Medal presented to him by Professor Don Barry, UL President. The UL President's Medal was established in 2002 to honour individuals who have provided outstanding support and service to the University of Limerick.

Speaking from today's ceremony UL President Professor Don Barry commended Professor' Hayes' dual commitments throughout his career to the pursuit of ground breaking research and the education of his students. "Michael Hayes not only has an impressive research record as well as many years of inspiring teaching to his credit, but also possesses an enthusiasm and energy that are an inspiration to his colleagues and peers.  His research and interests have brought him across the globe, and on reaching the milestone of his 80th birthday this year, he is thankfully showing no signs of slowing down.," said Professor Barry.

Michael Hayes, who was responsible for bringing the Harvard and Yale combined Athletics teams to UL three times since 1999, was also commended today for his contribution to Athletics at UL. "His continued commitment to athletics at UL is a testament to his dedication and enthusiasm for the wider student experience.  Michael champions the importance of developing both social and intellectual skills to compete and strive for excellence both on and off the field," said Professor Don Barry.  

01 Jun 2010

James Burdon (DSc) Appointed Ajunct Professor in CES

James Burdon DSc (Formerly Reader in Chemistry in the University of Birmingham) was appointed Adjunct Professor in the Chemical and Environmental Sciences Department of the University of Limerick. James will be primarily involved in the Chemistry of Biorefining processes, and in particular with the transformation mechanisms involved in the production of platform chemicals from lignocellulose precursors.

31 May 2010

Carbolea Members Publish in High Impact Journal "Water Research"

A paper entitled “Compositional Changes in the Hydrophobic acids fraction of Drainage Water from Different Land Management Practices” will be published in Water Research (impact factor 4.355). This publication, written by Corinna Byrne and Prof. Michael H.B. Hayes along with colleagues Dr. Andre Simpson and Dr. Rajeev Kumar, University of Toronto, Dr. Gary Lanigan, Dr. Karl Richards, Dr. Deirdre Fay, Teagasc and Dr. Etelvino Novotny, Embrapa, received favourable reviews, with one reviewer stating “this paper makes a significant contribution to the understanding of dissolved organic matter character and transport from agricultural land, under different management regimes”. The paper can be downloaded here.

28 May 2010

Carbolea's Biochar Research Accepted for Publication

A paper by members of Carbolea entitled “Biochar from Biomass and Waste” has been published in the new journal Waste and Biomass Valorization. This paper examines the roles that soil amendments with biochar can have on soil fertility, carbon sequestration, on the emissions of greenhouse gases from soil, on fertilizer requirements, and on waste management. Results from Carbolea research are presented, showing that biochars produced under different conditions can have varying effects in plant growth. This further strengthens the need for a biochar classification system. The paper can be downloaded here.

18 May 2010

DIBANET Meeting in Buenos Aires

DIBANET held its first project review meeting in Buenos Aires on May 18-19. This meeting included the presentation of results to date and discussion of future strategies for the project by DIBANETs project partners. The progress to date, is summarised below:

  • A reactor system for the production of levulinic acid (an important cellulosic fuel
    precursor) from biomass is now operational at Carbolea.

  • Aston University (UK) and CERTH (Greece) have analysed and pyrolysed the
    residues from this system and are working towards the production of diesel miscible biofuels from these, so eliminating waste from the process and maximising potential revenue.

  • University Federal Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and the University of Buenos Aires
    (Argentina) have made exciting new developments regarding catalysts for both the upgrading of bio-oils from pyrolysis and the conversion of carbohydrates and levulinic acid.

  • It was agreed that the project should focus on the processing of sugarcane bagasse (from Latin America) and Miscanthus (from Europe) in the hydrolysis reactor. The end target is the design of a commercial system for a Brazilian sugarmill.

  • Project partners demonstrated that Near Infrared Spectroscopy is a highly effective technology for rapid feedstock analysis and evaluation, subsequent work will focus on the potential for applying such a system at future biorefineries and sugar mills - “Such a system will allow suppliers of feedstock to be paid based on the biofuel potential of their material” said Daniel Hayes.

These developments have allowed advances to be made at many key points of this DIBANET process chain. Project Co-ordinator Prof. Michael H.B. Hayes said “The exciting results presented at this meeting show the great advances that can occur when leading research groups from Europe and Latin America work together for the greater good of both regions. This is only the first such meeting for DIBANET and we envisage even greater advances in the coming years. Our focus on the production of diesel miscible biofuels from waste materials through abiotic processes offers us a great competitive advantage in the crowded biofuels sector and the concerted effort of all partners is towards the development of a commercial system. Following this meeting I am more confident than ever about us achieving that goal”.

The importance of this research to the industry was underlined by the hosting of this event at the headquarters of YPF, a large Argentinian oil company. YPF will analyse and evaluate the range of biofuels produced from the DIBANET technologies.

14 May 2010

Michael Hayes Visits Laboratories of DIBANET Partner EMBRAPA

Prof. Michael Hayes today visited Etelvino Novotny at Embrapa, Rio de Janeiro for discussions on their collaborative studies with biochar. Embrapa is a member of the DIBANET project which Carbolea is co-ordinating.

13 May 2010

Michael Hayes Visits Laboratories of DIBANET Partner UFRJ

Prof. Michael Hayes today visited visited the laboratories of Professor Victor  Texeira at UFRJ (University Federal Rio de Janeiro). UFRJ is a member of the DIBANET project which Carbolea is co-ordinating. Professor Texeira has an excellent reputation for his work on catalysis. He has a  highly comprehensive set of pyrolysis and analytical equipment, and he leads a dedicated group of scientists.

28 Apr 2010

Corinna Presents at Biochar Workshop at Rothamsted

Corinna Byrne recently presented a paper at the 2nd annual UK Biochar Conference which was held at Rothamsted Research 28th-29th April 2010. The overall purpose of the conference was to enable those interested or actively researching biochar to come together to discuss biochar from an inter-disciplinary perspective.

The first day involved keynote presentations setting the scene for biochar as an agricultural and carbon storage product, and identify the key research questions. The second day was dedicated to a detailed examination of emerging research data around biochar production, soil interactions, life cycle analysis, economic appraisal and so on. Over the two days 130 delegates attended the meeting.
Corinna presented the biochar research under way in Carbolea. Her presentation can be viewed here or on the Downloads page. The abstract can be seen here.

The effect of additions of biochar on plant germination was examined and it was shown that biochar produced at 400ºC suppressed plant growth, while biochar from the higher temoerature of 600ºC increase plant growth. This highlighted the need to developing a biochar classification system to establish the preparation criteria that will give rise to biochars with properties that have desired effects. This classification system will indicate the value of various biochars for different applications. Work is underway in Carbolea to determine which biochar is most suitable to increase plant growth under Irish conditions.

28 Apr 2010

Daniel Hayes visits DIBANET Brazilian Partners

Daniel Hayes today left for Brazil where he will spend several weeks visiting some of the DIBANET project partners and instructing them of the appropriate methodlogies for the analysis of biomass. He will also install new NIR and solvent extraction devices during his time there.

26 Apr 2010

Launch of Austin Darragh Book "The Facts of Light"

Today marked the Launch of Launch, at the Royal Dublin Society, of the Austin Darragh book, ‘The facts of light’, published by Booklink of Hollywood, Co. Down. This book is a series of essays that deal with the origins and the maintenance of life as we know it. There is especial emphasis on the virtually indestructible electron that is a part of every atomic structure and has a duality in matter and energy. The Vi-Aqua technology replicates the process by which electromagnetism endows plasma in water with latent energy. This can be utilized to enhance the process of photosynthesis which energises all life on our planet through the carbohydrate in biomass that is essential for the ‘Renaissance of a Carbohydrate Economy’.

01 Apr 2010

Edward Ryan Starts Working at Carbolea

Edward Ryan started working today in the Carbolea group laboratories as part of his third year co-operative education. Ed primarily focuses on sample preparation, obtaining the most desired particle size required for analysis. He is mostly involved in the DIBANET project.

01 Apr 2010

Zhonglai Li Joins the Research Group

Today Zhonglai Li joined Carbolea. He will be involved in the project of chemical upgrading of bio-oil. His works are the development of low cost and high efficiency catalysts for the improvement of bio-oil quality.

19 Mar 2010

Carbolea Members Join COST Actions

COST is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. COST contributes to reducing the fragmentation in European research investments and opening the European Research Area to cooperation worldwide.

Prof. Michael H.B. Hayes has been nominated as a delegate to COST Action CM0903: Utilisation of Biomass for Sustainable Fuels & Chemicals (UBIOCHEM). The main objective of the Action is to generate a synergistic approach for utilisation of biomass for sustainable fuels & chemicals through cooperation between scientists from different member states and different areas and disciplines.
Special emphasis will be placed on the utilisation of lignocellulose biomass, algae and non-edible crops, which does not compete with food. It will involve the use of green catalytic methodologies (homogeneous, heterogeneous, enzymatic and photocatalysis) and novel reaction media.

Daniel Hayes is the Irish National member of COST Action FP0901: Analytical Techniques for Biorefineries. The main objective of this Action is to develop new and evaluate existing sufficient analytical methods related to forest-based and agroindustrial Biorefineries that eventually will be applied within novel and existing sustainable Biorefining processes and for products, as well as in state-of-the-art academic research and innovations.

01 Mar 2010

David Noonan Starts Work at Carbolea

David Noonan today started working as a lab assistant in the Carbolea laboratories. David is presently doing a B.Sc in Environmental Science in the University of Limerick. He is working for the Carbolea Group as part of his Cooperative Education. David is a lab assistant involved in the analysis of biomass samples and is currently working with UV-Vis Spectroscopy to determine the total uronic acid content of Hydrolysed Biomass samples. He is mostly involved in the DIBANET project.

26 Feb 2010

Launch of BIOMOB Project

Today marked the launch of the BIOMOB programme dealing with Regional biomass resources.`The programme is coordinated by Shannon Development, Ireland, and there are partners from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Scotland, and Sweden. Raymond McInerney and Michael Hayes from the Carbolea Group are involved in the project. Raymond’s job is to collate all the biomass resources in the Shannon Region, the industries that utilise biomass, and the Institutions involved in Biomass research. He collects and collates similar information from the other members of the consortium. This is a feasibility study. It is hoped that it will lead to an extended programme that will enable the establishment of sustainable agriculture based industries in the different regions.

18 Feb 2010

Carbolea Presence at National Bioenergy Conference 2010

Michael Hayes, JJ Leahy and Raymond McInerney attended "The National Bioenergy Conference 2010 ‘Developing and Financing Bioenergy". This event was organised by Teagasc and the Irish Bioenergy Association and took place at The Tipperary Institute in Thurles. Carbolea has numerous active projects in the area of bioenergy.

16 Feb 2010

Members Attend "Energy Crops Technical information Day"

Daniel Hayes and Mark Ashworth attended the "Energy Crops Technical Information Day" event organised by Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods (DAFF). This event also included a demonstration of several energy crop harvesters in action at the Oak Park Tegaasc Research Centre in Carlow. There is a particular interest in Miscanthus and short rotation coppices in Ireland as energy crops and Carbolea has ongoing projects in which these energy crops, Miscanthus in particular, are being utilised. One of these projects is funded by DAFF.

16 Feb 2010

DIBANET Reactor Arrives at Carbolea

Today marked the arrival of the first stage of the DIBANET hydrolysis reactor at Carbolea. This will be used to understand the kinetics and reaction mechanisms involved in the conversion of various lignocellulosic feedstocks to a range of platform chemicals - with a particular focus on levulinic acid, furfural and formic acid. Of particular interest is the influence of operating conditions such as the Acid Concentration and Temperature on the conversion of cellulosic feedstock’s to Levulinic acid (LA) and Humic substances (HU) and the conditions that favour the formation of the former as opposed to the latter.

16 Feb 2010

Letter Published in Irish Times

A letter written by Carbolea's Prof. Michael Hayes was today published in the Irish Times national newspaper. It concered the plans for the construction, in Poolbeg, Dublin, of a large incinerator to treat the muncipal wastes from the Dublin region that are currently sent to landfill. It argued that the incineration technology has been superceded by biorefining processes that can offer higher value products from their processing of waste materials. The full letter can be read on the Irish Times website or through this link on the Carbolea site.

14 Jan 2010

Carbolea Presentation at Limavady to EU Consortium

Prof. Michael H. B. Hayes presented at Limavady, Co. Derry, Ireland, to an FP7 Workshop for persons involved in biomass related research in the Coastal Regions of N Europe. The presentation outlined the objectives of DIBANET, with especial emphasis on the relevant biorefining operations. There is a significant involvement in the growing of Coppice Willow in Co. Derry. The product is made into chips for burning. The lecture outlined the additional value that can be obtained from biorefining because, in addition to the platform chemicals that are recoverable, pyrolysis of the residual materials will provide syngas, bio-oil (which can be upgraded to diesel additive quality) and biochar, an excellent plant growth enhancer.

11 Jan 2010

Marzena Kwapinska Joins Carbolea Team

Marzena will be responsible for operation of the fluidised bed pilot gasifier. Numerous biomass feedstocks and wastes from our project partners, e.g. residues from enzymatic processes, will be gasified. The target will be to develop novel and effective configurations; to optimize the conditions for biomass particles with favourable gas–solid mixing and contact efficiencies and finally achieve a high yield of hydrogen in the syngas.

07 Jan 2010

Lijun Jia Joins the Group

Today Lijun Jia arrived at the Carbolea research group. She is an international PhD student, supported by the China Scholarship Council and University of Limerick. She will focus on the catalytic hydrogenation of biomass derivatives, such as levulinic acid, into useful chemicals using formic acid instead of hydrogen as hydrogen donor.

04 Jan 2010

Mark Ashworth Joins Carbolea

Mark Ashworth today hoined the Carbolea group. He will work as a research assistant in a number of areas of the laboratory focusing on the preparation and analysis of biomass samples in the Carbolea laboratories. He is involved in the DIBANET project at Carbolea.

09 Dec 2009

Biomass Analysis Workshop at Carbolea

Representatives from DIBANET partners CTC and UNICAMP attended a two week workshop at Carbolea. During this period Daniel Hayes demonstrated that analytical techniques that will be used by these partners in their characterisation of the potential biorefinery feedstocks of Latin America. The integration of Near Infrared Spectroscopy into this anaytical protocol was also outlined.

07 Nov 2009

Daniel Hayes Attends NIR 2009

Daniel Hayes attended "The 14th International Conference on Near Infrared Spectroscopy" which was held between the 7th and 13th of November in Bangkok, Thailand. This was a comprehensive event that covered numerous areas of direct relevance to ongoing Carbolea projects, in particular the EU FP7 project DIBANET. Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) plays a large role in the work Daniel Hayes and others carry out at Carbolea and is being used to develoip rapid analytical tools for potential biorefinery feedstocks.

18 Oct 2009

Sunday Times Features Carbolea Researcher

Corinna Byrne was recently interviewed by the GRAD Ireland supplement for the Sunday Times. Corinna described her research in the Carbolea group at UL, detailing the work underway on producing Biochar from waste. She stated “what we are doing is very promising because waste material is so undervalued. We believe that there is no such thing as an organic waste- it’s just a usable product in the wrong form”. The article can be read here.

06 Oct 2009

Project Update: Bio-Oil Production and Upgrading

The webpage detailing our work on the production and analysis of pyrolysis bio-oils from various feedstocks has been updated. Recent material includes observations concerning the upgrading of these bio-oils through esterification with alcohols. Fergus Melligan and Witold Kwapinski and the personnel with most involvement in this project, the updated material can be found here.

06 Oct 2009

Research Areas Update: Pyrolysis and Gasification

The webpage explaining the background to pyrolysis and gasification, two key areas of research at Carbolea, has been expanded today. Figures have been added to illustrate these thermochemical processes and a diagram of the bench-scale slow pyrolysis unit has been included. Witold Kwpainski and JJ Leahy are the persons with most involvement in this area. More details can be found on the appropriate webpage.

05 Oct 2009

Research Areas Update: Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Today a new webpage has been incorporated in Carbolea. It details the incorporation of near infrared spectroscopy in our analytical regime. This has been an exciting development in our work and offers the potential the rapid analysis of biomass feedstocks and the products of biomass conversion without the need for timely and costly wet chemical analytical techniques. Daniel Hayes is the person with most involvement in this area. More details can be found on the appropriate webpage.

05 Oct 2009

Project Update: Gasifier/Pyrolysis Reactor Design

The webpage detailing our work, on the design and construction of a pilot-scale 10kg/hr pyrolyser/gasifier here at the University of Limerick has been updated. Witold Kwpainski and JJ Leahy are the persons with most involvement in this project. More details can be found on the appropriate webpage.

05 Oct 2009

Project Update:Biochar Production, Analysis and Plant Growth Trials

The webpage detailing our work on the production, analysis and evaluation of biochar has been updated. In particular there are pictures and data on the observations as to how various biochars influence the germination of Maize plants. It has been noticed that there is a siginificant positive effect in the first month of plant growth, when compared with controls, for biochar amended soils. It is hypothesised that this is due to hormonal effects from chemicals (probably from the bio-oil vapours) sorbed on to the biochars. Katerina Kryachko and Witold Kwpainski are the persons with most involvement in this project. More details can be found on the appropriate webpage.

05 Oct 2009

Project Update: Analysis of Peat as a Feedstock for Biorefineries

The webpage detailing our work, on the analysis of peats and evaluation as to their suitability for processing in varioud biorefining technologies, has been updated today. Daniel Hayes and Raymond McInerney are the people with most involvement in this project, the updated material can be found here.

04 Oct 2009

Project Update: Dry Reforming of Methane to Syn-Gas

The webpage detailing our work, on the dry reforming of methane with CO2 for the production of a syngas, has been updated today. Recent material includes observations on the efficacy of various catalysts for this process. Bhari Mallanna Nagaraja is the person with most involvement in this project, the updated material can be found here.

03 Oct 2009

Project Update:Formic Acid for Hydrogenation

The webpage detailing our work on the use of formic acid, which can be a by-product of some biorefining schemes (such as the one being developed in DIBANET), as a hydrogen donor has been updated. Dmitri Bulushev is the person with most involvement in this project. More details can be found on the appropraite webpage.

02 Oct 2009

Project Update: Analysis and Evaluation of Irish Agricultural Products for Biroefining

Today the webpage detailing the research project funded by the Department of Agriculture's Research Stimulus fund has been updated. The update includes a list of all of the samples that have beem collected, processed and analysed to date as well as particular observations concerning Miscanthus x giganteus, which is a particularly attractive energy crop for Ireland. Daniel Hayes is the person with most involvement in this area. More details can be found on the appropriate webpage.

01 Oct 2009

Donncha Haverty Joins Carbolea Team

We are pleased to announce that today Donncha Harverty started work at Carbolea. He is employed in our FP7 project DIBANET. He will be responsible for the design, construction and operation of a lab-scale hydrolysis system that will take, as feedstocks, numerous residues and wastes from Europe and Latin America. The target will be high yields of valuable platform chemicals from which a suite of biofuels and industrial chemicals can be synthesised. Donncha has extensive experience in reactor design and construction and will be a valuable member in the team.

25 Sep 2009

Carbolea Booth at IRCSET 2009 Symposium

Carbolea today occupied one of the four display booths at the IRCSET 2009 Symposium "Innovation Fuelling the Smart Society". The booth displayed a slide show and posters representing many of Carbolea's current projects. These posters included:

"Biomass Pyrolysis and Gasification and Their Applications" by Witold Kwapinski

"DIBANET - Development of Integrated Biomass Approaches Network" by Corinna Byrne

"Analysis of Biomass Feedstocks and Evaluation of Suitability for Biorefining and Pyrolysis Schemes" by Daniel Hayes

"Pyrolysis of Biomass to produce Bio-Oil" by Fergus Melligan

"Enhancements of Soil Fertility from Biochar Amendments" by Katerina Kryachko

Much of Daniel Hayes's PhD work was funded by IRCSET.

23 Sep 2009

Renata Wnetrzak Joins Carbolea Team

Erasmus exchange student Renata Wnetrzak today joinded the Carbolea team. Her primary roles will be in the pyrolysis of various feedstocks and in the characterisation of the products formed. She will also work on means for upgrading the bio-oil that is produced.

23 Sep 2009

Resarch Areas Update: Biorefining and Second Generation Biofuels

The webpage detailing the background to biorefining and second generation biofuels has been updated. There is now more detail on the various types of technologies and diagrams detailing these. Please refer to the appropriate webpage for more information.

23 Sep 2009

Daniel Hayes and Corinna Byrne Attend Environment Ireland 2009

Daniel Hayes and Corinna Byrne attended the 5th Annual Enviornment Ireland Conference (2009), at Croke Park, Dublin. There were several topics of interest at this conference, particularly the presentations relating to future strategies to deal with wastes. Carbolea research projects consider waste feedstocks as a priority and we are continually looking at advanced processes for getting maximal value from this resource while minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

01 Sep 2009

Call for Submissions for DIBANET Scholarship is Now Closed

The application phase for submissions for a DIBANET PhD scholarship for Latin American students to undertake a full PhD here at the University of Limerick, as announced previously on Carbolea, has now closed. We have received a large number of applications with many highly talented people on the candidate list. The deliberation process will now begin and announcement of the successful candidate will follow.

09 Aug 2009

Corinna Byrne Travels to the Rockies for Biochar Conference

Corinna Byrne recently attended the North American Biochar Conference in Boulder, Colorado, the home of the Rocky Mountains. The big news from the conference was that Carbon Gold has put forward a methodology to the Voluntary Carbon Standard for carbon sequestration by biochar. They state:

“The project category applies where it is possible to ensure (for example through optimising the temperature at which materials are pyrolysed) that the pyrolysed residues are no longer prone to combustion or decomposition. The pyrolysed residues will only be considered biologically inert if the volatile-carbon/fixed-carbon ratio is equal to or lower than 50%”

This method is based on  Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) small-scale methodology AMS-III.L: Avoidance of methane production from biomass decay through controlled pyrolysis. This CDM category is applicable to project activities where it is possible to ensure the pyrolysed residues are no longer prone to anaerobic decomposition. The pyrolysed residues will only be considered biologically inert if the volatile-carbon/fixed-carbon ratio is equal to or lower than 50%.

Concerns were raised about this at the conference. Analysis of biochars produced revealed that few contained a volatile-carbon/fixed-carbon ratio equal to or lower than 50%. This emphasises the need for more rigid and realistic paramters to be established for setting biochar standards.

In the meantime, the fight for the retention of Biochar in Article 134 of the draft text for Copenhagen is still ongoing. Debbie Reed is hopeful that they can managed to keep biochar on the table at the next round of talks.

08 Aug 2009

Current Projects Update: DIBANET

Today a new webpage has been launched on Carbolea. This details the large project DIBANET which is being co-ordinated here at the University of Limerick. It is funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme and is a response to the Energy 2008 Call - "Significant enhancement of the cooperation between key researchers and industries from the EU and Latin America in the field of biofuels". DIBANET stands for the "Development of Integrated Biomass Approaches NETwork" and the title of the Project is "The Production of Sustainable Diesel Miscible Biofuels from the Residues and Wastes of Europe and Latin America". There are 13 partners in the group, 6 from the EU and 7 from Latin America. There are more details and web links for most of these partners on the Links page. The total budget for the project is €3.7m with €1.4m going to the Carbolea Research Group. Please consult the appropriate webpage for more information.

01 Aug 2009

Daniel Hayes and Corinna Byrne Join DIBANET

Daniel Hayes has taken up a new position in DIBANET, the FP7 project being co-ordinated by Carbolea that involves research collaboration between the European Union and Latin America. Daniel will be primarily involved in Work Package 2 which concerns the analysis of the lignocellulosic residues and wastes of both regions, the development of near infrared spectrscopy (NIRS) as a primary analytical tool, and the incorporation of NIRS for online analysis at a Brazilian sugarmill. Daniel leaves his current position in the Carbolea waste project funded by the EPA STRIVE program and this position will be filled by Raymond McInerney.

Corinna Byrne has taken the position of Project Manager for DIBANET. She will be responsible for the co-ordination of the project and management of budgets, staff and deliverables.

It is expected that further recruitments to DIBANET will be announced on Carbolea in the coming weeks.

08 Jul 2009

DIBANET Kick-Off Meeting

July 8th saw the official kick-off meeting for DIBANET, the new FP7 project co-ordinated by Carbolea. Many of the partners attended with a large contingent from Latin America making the journey. The day started with a welcoming and introduction to the University followed by a series of presentations by each partner detailing their capacities and roles in DIBANET. Very conductive discussions then followed in seminar sessions and the networking continued late into the night with a traditional Irish Banquet in nearby Bunratty Castle. The following day many attendees were brought to see the marvels of the Cliffs of Moher, a tourist attraction near to the University.

06 Jul 2009

FUNLEVEL Proposal Passes Stage 2 FP7 Evaluation Threshold

The Evaluation Summary Report for FUNLEVEL, a proposal for a project to be co-ordinated by Carbolea and submitted under the FP7-2009-BIOREFINERY Call "Sustainable Biorefineries", was received today. The proposal is one of only 5 proposals (from a total of over 60) to make the threshold score for eligbility for funding. The following months will determine whether this will equate to the start of negotiation phase for the project and its ultimate funding. The full title for FUNLEVEL is "Catalytic Conversion of Biomass into FUraN and LEVulinic Acid Derivatives for Applications in Biofuels and Biopolymers", it is a 48 month project, with 14 partners and a total budget of €12.2m with €2.4m allocated for Carbolea. An abstract of the proposal is available on this site.

01 Jul 2009

Daniel Hayes Presents at CONEIAP XIX

In a sign of Carbolea's increasingly strong links with Latin America in the field of biomass and biofuels research, Daniel Hayes presented to the CONEIAP XIX 2009 Conference in Cali, Colombia. The presentation was entitled "The New Generation of Biofuels: How Europe and Latin America Can Work Together" and can be downloaded from this website.

01 Jul 2009

Launch of DIBANET

Today marks the first day of DIBANET, the large multinational FP7 research project being co-ordinated by Carbolea. Details of this project are available on this website. On July 8th 2009 the University of Limerick will hold the official kick-off ceremony for the project and it is expected that many of the partners from Europe and Latin America will attend. A total of 30 people will be involved in this project between all of the partners and it is expected that Carbolea will be announcing the recruitment of several new members over the next few months so keep your eyes on the website for further updates. More information about DIBANET can be found on the appropriate webpage.

24 Jun 2009

Michael Hayes Presents Keynote Address at University of Aachen

Michael Hayes today presented a keynote address to the international symposium entitled "Tailor Made Fuels from Biomass" at the University of Aachen, Germany. The presentation can be downloaded from this website.

11 Jun 2009

Michael Hayes Delivers Keynote Speech at Feasta Conference

Today Michael Hayes gave a keynote speech entitled "Second Generation Biorefining for Sustainable Indigenous Industries for Ireland" at the Feasta "New Emergency Conference". In this presentation, biorefining processes are outlined, with discussion of acid versus enzymatic hydrolysis for lignocellulose biorefinery feedstocks. The products of high temperature/high pressure biorefining processes yielding furfural, levulinic acid, formic acid, and biorefinery residuals are illustrated, and the extents to which the chemical products can provide platform chemicals and fuel additives are discussed. Emphasis is given to pyrolysis products (gases, bio-oil and biochar) of the residuals, and of the potential to upgrade the bio-oil to fuel additive products, and to the uses of the biochar in soil amendment processes. The presentation can be downloaded here and a video of it can be watched here or below.



10 Jun 2009

Presentation by Corinna Byrne at Feasta Conference

Corinna Byrne gave a presentation at the Feasta "Emergency Conference: Managing Risk and Building Resilience in a Resource Constrained World" (10-12 June, 2009). She examined the policies needed to get Irish land to absorb CO2 rather than release it. She reviewed the role that biochar could play in reducing nitrous oxide and methane emissions and building up the fertility and carbon content of the soil. A video of it the presentation be watched here or below.



18 May 2009

Scholarship Available for Latin American Student to Undertake a PhD at Carbolea

DIBANET, an EU FP7 project will commence in July 1st 2009. This project involves collaboration in the field of second generation biofuels research between 13 partners, 6 from the EU and 7 from Latin America. It will build on the key, complementary, strengths of EU and LA researchers and industries to advance this field. Applications are invited from Latin American citizens for a 3 year PhD project as part of DIBANET. Please click here for further details or download the details of the studentship.

07 May 2009

Large EU FP7 Project, Co-ordinated by UL, to Start in July

Carbolea is pleased to annouce an official start date of July 1st for DIBANET, a research project funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. This project is being co-ordinated here at the University of Limerick and is a response to the Energy 2008 Call - "Significant enhancement of the cooperation between key researchers and industries from the EU and Latin America in the field of biofuels". DIBANET stands for the "Development of Integrated Biomass Approaches NETwork" and the title of the Project is "The Production of Sustainable Diesel Miscible Biofuels from the Residues and Wastes of Europe and Latin America". There are 13 partners in the group, 6 from the EU and 7 from Latin America. There are more details and web links for most of these partners on the Links page. The total budget for the project is €3.7m with €1.4m going to the Carbolea Research Group. More details, and a dedicated website, will be provided soon.

05 May 2009

Carbolea Researchers on Morning Ireland Radio Show

In a recorded interview with Eleanor Burnhill of the RTE Morning Ireland Programme Professors Michael Hayes and Julian Ross outlined the ongoing studies on the utilisations of biomass at the Carbolea Group, located in the CES Department of the University of Limerick. They stressed how biorefining operations give platform chemicals, fuels and fuel additives, and biorefinery residuals (BRs), and indicated how pyrolysis of BRs gives bio-oil, which can be upgraded to fuel additive grade, biochar, an excellent soil amender and carbon sequesterer, and fuel gases. Excerpts from the recording have been used in Morning Ireland programmes. At a Biochar meeting at the University of Edinburgh on April 1, Professor Hayes spoke with Jerry Harrison, a Harvard graduate in the Environmental Sciences area, and a former lead musician with the famed Talking Heads. Jerrry has a strong interest in biochar. Hayes informed Miss Burnhill of the Harrison interest. When she interviewed him for Morning Ireland he reiterated his belief in the environmental benefits of Biochar, and indicated that he had interested Bono in the benefits of the product.

04 May 2009

CPI Conference on May 8t

On Friday, May 8th in CSG01, Computer Science Building, University of Limerick there will be a conference onrganised by UL's Charles Parsons Initiative. It is entitled " Energy Solutions ’09 ‘Energy to drive the Irish Economy". The programme for the day can be downloaded here.

30 Apr 2009

Daniel Hayes Presents to EU Parliamentarians

Daniel Hayes presented to the European Parliament outlining his vision for the future direction of biofuel policy in the EU. In particular it was outlined that there needs to be a clear focus on only those feedstocks and technologies that can offer substantive greenhouse gas savings at a reasonable cost. He suggested that, at least in the near term until second generation biorefining facilities are well established and offer a stable market for the production of lignocellulosic energy crops, there should be a focus on utilising waste resources (as shall be the central theme of Carbolea's DIBANET project) and feedstocks that do not result in land use conflicts or food vs fuel arguments. Dan's speech can be provided at request.

27 Mar 2009

Fergus Melligan Presents at CAPE Conference

Fergus Melligan presented at the annual Computer Aided Process Engineering(CAPE) forum on the 27th March. He spoke about pyrolysis of biomass, with the primary focus on the production of bio-oil. Some of the physical properties of bio-oil which was produced from miscanthus under different pyrolysis conditions was presented and compared with diesel. He also discussed some methods of upgrading the bio-oils to a higher quality fuel. Follow these links for his presentation and abstract.

22 Jan 2009

Corinna Byrne Presents at Irbea Conference

Corinna presented at the annual Irish Bioenergy Association (Irbea) conference on the 22nd of January. She introduced the Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network and spoke about the development of a sustainable, carbon-sequestering bioenergy industry in Ireland through the on –going research at Carbolea on biorefining and biochar. The presentation can be downloaded here.

09 Dec 2008

New Waste Evaluation Project Starts at Carbolea

December also sees the start of a project funded by the EPA Strive Programme. The project will involve the detailed analysis and characterisation of various wastes (including industrial and municipal wastes) in order to ascertain their potential in various biorefining and/or pyrolysis technologies. Following this analysis these methods of waste treatment will be compared with more conventional processes such as landfill, incineration and anaerobic digestion. The Project will last one year and will involve Daniel Hayes and Patrick Cross.

01 Dec 2008

New Peat Evaluation Project Starts

December sees the start of a new project at Carbolea, funded by Bord na Mona. This inolves the the detailed analysis and characterisation of various peats in order to ascertain their potential in various biorefining and/or pyrolysis technologies. The Project will inolve Daniel Hayes, Ainara Melus and Enrico Perelli.

01 Nov 2008

Corinna Byrne Joins Feasta

Corinna joined Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability, on part-time basis and took up the role as Co-ordinator/Lead researcher on the Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network, a project funded by Department of the Environment. The purpose of this project is to develop policies which will enable the Irish land mass to become a carbon sink rather than a source of greenhouse emissions.

15 Sep 2008

Large Upgrade of Carbolea Labs Being Implemented

Preparatory work is under-way in upgrading the biomass-preparatory lab at Carbolea. The renovation will provide improved infrastructure to facilitate the future projects planned by the group. Furthermore, Carbolea has taken an additional lab that will house the pyrolysis/gasification unit that is currently being designed and is expected to be operational in early 2009. It is expected that this laboratory will also house the acid-hydrolysis bench-scale biorefining system that will be part of a major new project that Carbolea expects to announce in the next few months.

08 Sep 2008

Strong Presence at the Internation Biochar Initiative 2008

Several members of Carbolea attended the 2008 Conference for the International Biochar Initiative. This was located in Newcastle, England and saw a significant increase in attendance from the 2007 conference, based in Terrigal, Australia, which was also attended by Carbolea.

Prof. Michael Hayes made a keynote presentation under the session entitled "Biochar Characterisation". He discussed the advanced biochar characterisation techniques that have been developed at Carbolea and there were also several posters by the group on display. The presentation can be downloaded from the website.

There can potentially be a major role for biochar in carbon sequestration and soil fertility and Carbolea hopes to be strongly involved in this through our current and forthcoming projects. The origins of interest in biochar are outlined with especial focus on the enhanced ferertility conferred on the Terra Preta soils from biochar amendments by pre-Columbian native Indians. The fact that the surface area of 10 g of biochar is equivalent to the area of the Croke Park playing field highlights the immense reactive surface that it provides. Solid state nuclear magnetic resonance data indicate compositional aspects, and differences of biochars formed under varied reaction conditions. Reference is made to the refuges that biochars provide for fungi and bacteria that can influence plant growth, and the growth enhancing effect for plants is shown..

29 Aug 2008

Advanced NIR Device Installed at Carbolea

A state of the art Near Infrared (NIR) spectroscopic device was installed today in a Carbolea lab. The FOSS XDS NIR unit with solid content module will allow more advenced characterisation of biomass in the NIR region than previously allowed. It has been integrated into the detailed analytical protocol for lignocellulosic biomass that is currently being carried out at Carbolea for feedstocks of relevance to biorefining processes. The advanced features of this unit will enable Carbolea to pursue exciting projects in the rapid characterisation of biomass and the integration of these with online facilities.

26 May 2008

Successful Launch of the CPI

The Charles Parsons Initiative, of which Carbolea is a member, was officially lauched today.The launch was addressed by Minister Eamon Ryan (Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources), Professor Son Barry (President of the University of Limerick), and Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool (ex-chairman of Shell and chairman of D1 Oils). There were also world renowned experts in the fields of biomass, wind, biofuels, ocean energy and energy storage. The event was well attended by stakeholders from various fields.

The programme can be downloaded here and many presentations can be downloaded from the CPI website while those relating to the areas of study in Carbolea can be downloaded below:

Lord Oxburgh of Liverpool - "Some Thoughts on Biofuels..."

Daniel Hayes - "Biorefining, Work at Carbolea and the Biofine Process"

Dr. Dmitri Bulushev and Prof. Julian Ross - "Catalysis for Hydrogen and Transport Fuel Production from Biomass"

Dr. JJ Leahy and Dr. Witold Kwapinski - Thermochemical Conversion/Biomass Gasification

Prof. Austin Darragh - "Sir Charles Parsons and the Evolution of an Energy Led Economy"

Katerina Kryachko - "Bio-char and Plant Growth"

23 May 2008

Waste Evaluation Project Awared to Carbolea by the EPA

Carbolea has been awarded a grant under the EPA STRIVE program. The project will involve the detailed analysis and characterisation of various wastes (including industrial and municipal wastes) in order to ascertain their potential in various biorefining and/or pyrolysis technologies. Following this analysis these methods of waste treatment will be compared with more conventional processes such as landfill, incineration and anaerobic digestion. The project is expected to start in December 2008 and last one year. It will involve Daniel Hayes and Patrick Cross.

13 Apr 2008

Biomass Conversion Conference Attended in Krakow

Katerina Kryachko, Witold Kwapinski, Dmitri Bulushev and Daniel Hayes attended the ERA Chemistry workshop, entitled “Chemistry of raw material change/chemical transformation of biomass” in Krakow, Poland. This was a very useful event which involved presentations and discussions concerning numerous areas of biomass conversion. The following articles that were presented at this conference can be downloaded here:

Daniel Hayes - "An Outline of Work by Carbolea and the Biofine Process"

Dmitri Bulushev - "Some applications of bio-oil and chemicals production"

Katerina Kryachko - "Investigations of methods of recovery products from Biofine Process and their applications"

19 Mar 2008

Details Revealed on CPI Meeting

It has been announed that the Charles Parsons Initiative, of which Carbolea is a member, will hold a major event on May 26th at the University of Limerick. There will be presentations by world-renowned experts in the fields of biomass, biofuels, wind power, ocean energy and energy storage. Lord Oxburgh, ex-chairman of Shell and chairman of D1 Oils will be one of the biofuels speakers. Eamon Ryan, the Minister for the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources will give a presentation, as will Government advisor Barry McSweeney, Brendan Halligan (the Chair of Sustainable Energy Ireland) and David Genders (Regenesys/VRB Power Inc.). Those in the field of biofuels and bioenergy that would like to attend can email Daniel Hayes, while those in other sectors should consult the CPI website. More details to follow.

12 Mar 2008

Second Generation Activity at World Biofuels Markets Congress

Daniel Hayes attended the fourth World Biofuels Markets Congress in Brussels. There was a noticeable increase, over the previous year's meeting, in the commercial activity in the field of second generation biofuels. Numerous companies claimed that they are currently constructing demonstration-scale plants or are close to doing so. There was also a stronger presence of algal-biofuel companies although these are still some way from commercial competitiveness.

14 Feb 2008

Members Attend Annual AAAS Meeting

Carbolea members Daniel Hayes, and Michael Hayes attended the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which took place in Boston, USA. There were numerous talks on the state of play and progress regarding second generation biofuels and advanced biomass technologies. There appears to be an understanding in America that first generation biofuels can only go so far, there is a cap (15 billion gallons) on the amount of ethanol that can come from maize. It is expected that the majority of the biofuel quotas for 2022 and beyond will come from second generation technologies.

08 Feb 2008

Carbolea Members Attend Mid-West Climate Change Meeting

Carbolea members Daniel Hayes, Corinna Byrne and Mike Jordan attended the Mid West Regional Authority's (MWRA) annual conference in Adare, County Limerick where Ireland's first Regional Climate Change Strategy was launched.

Further Details

05 Feb 2008

Carbolea Launches!

The website for the Carbolea research group at the University of Limerick launched today. Expect the initial content to grow in the coming weeks.





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