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Dr. Daniel Hayes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact

Dr Daniel Hayes

Department:

Chemical and Environmental Science

Address:

Foundation Bldg., Uni. of Limerick

Position:

Post-Doc

Qualifications:

PhD, BSc (Environmental Science)

Email:

daniel.hayes@ul.ie

Phone (work):

(353) 61 23 4381

Phone (mobile):

(353) 85 749 7372

Fax:

(353) 61 20 2572

Skype:

dj-hayes


Daniel Hayes has recently formed a spin-out company, Celignis, based on the outputs of his PhD and his research at Carbolea. Celignis provides services for the laboratory analysis of biomass feedstocks for properties important in the production of biofuels, chemicals, and energy. The company has commercialised Daniel's work in developing near infrared spectroscopy models (see below) to allow for this analysis to be carried out much more rapidly, and at a lower cost, than would otherwise be possible.

Daniel Hayes has been actively involved in the field of biorefining and second generation biofuels since 2001. He holds a first class honours degree in Environmental Science from the University of East Anglia (including a year at the University of Illionis at Champaign Urbana) and completed his PhD degree at Carbolea in 2011. His work has involved examining the potential lignocellulosic feedstocks for biorefineries in Ireland. He has considerable experience with the analysis of lignocellulosic materials utilising various analytical devices (e.g. TGA, NIR, GC, HPAEC-PAD). Some of this work took place at the Bureau of Sugar Experimental Stations (BSES) in Brisbane, Australia.

His PhD Thesis was entitled "Analysis of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks for Biorefineries with a Focus on The Development of Near Infrared Spectroscopy as a Primary Analytical Tool" and his Viva presentation and the two volumes of the Thesis itself, can be downloaded via the links on this page.

He currently has a leading role in 3 active projects:

(1) DIBANET, where his focus has been on the development of near infrared spectroscopy as a rapid analytical tool for biomass using both Miscanthus from Europe and sugarcane bagasse from Brazil;

(2) Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food funded project: Involves the examination and chemical analysis of second generation biofuel feedstocks from Irish Agriculture

(3) EPA funded project: Involves the analysis of Irish waste materials for their lignocellulosic components.

He also had a leading role in a, now completed, project funded by Bord na Mona. That project involved the analysis and evaluation of peat as a biorefining feedstock and the development of NIR models for its analysis.

DIBANET was written mainly by Daniel under the title “The Production of Sustainable Diesel Miscible Biofuels from the Residues and Wastes of Europe and Latin America” and has 13 partners (6 from the EU and 7 from Latin America) and provides €1.4m in funding to UL, part of which to fund the development of a reactor system for processing wastes to platform chemicals.

Daniel has also had a role in getting funding for UL to take a major role in the Enterprise Ireland Biorefining Competence Centre. He has given numerous talks on biorefining in Brussels to European parliamentarians and civil servants. He has strong links with Latin America and has presented in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia.

He has peer-reviewed papers in Biofpr and Catalysis Today, a chapter in a biorefining book (Wiley), numerous letters on biorefining published in the national papers, and has written articles for the Farmers Journal, Organic Matters, and Chemistry in Action. Daniel Hayes, and other UL researchers, have been invited to examine biorefining technologies in New Zealand, the USA, the UK, Germany, and Canada.


Material/Downloads

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Summary Statistics

Carbolea
Total

2018

2017

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for Last
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Journal Papers

5

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Book Chapters

3

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Conference Papers

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Presentations

13

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Posters

2

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Videos

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Reports

6

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Patents

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Untitled Document

Journal Articles

Untitled Document

Hayes, D. J. M. (2013) Second-generation biofuels: why they are taking so long, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment 2(3):304–334

Click for abstract
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.


Hayes, D. J. M. (2013) Mass and Compositional Changes, Relevant to Biorefining, in Miscanthus x giganteus Plants over the Harvest Window , Bioresource Technology 142:591–602

Click for abstract
Miscanthus plants were sampled from several plantations in Ireland over the harvest window (October-April). These were separated into their anatomical components and the loss of leaves monitored. Three distinct phases were apparent: there was minimal loss in the “Early” (October to early December) and “Late” (March and April) phases, and rapid leaf loss in the interim period. Samples were analysed for constituents relevant to biorefining. Changes in whole-plant composition included increases in glucose and Klason lignin contents and decreases in ash and arabinose contents. These changes arose mostly from the loss of leaves, but there were some changes over time within the harvestable plant components. Although leaves yield less biofuel than stems, the added biomass provided by an early harvest (31.9 to 38.4%) meant that per hectare biofuel yields were significantly greater (up to 29.3%) than in a late harvest. These yields greatly exceed those from first generation feedstocks.


Hayes, D. J. M. (2012) Development of near infrared spectroscopy models for the quantitative prediction of the lignocellulosic components of wet Miscanthus samples, Bioresource Technology 119:393-405

Click for 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.

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Hayes, D. J.Hayes, M. H. B. (2009) The role that lignocellulosic feedstocks and various biorefining technologies can play in meeting Ireland’s biofuel targets, Biofpr 3(5):500-520

Click for abstract
This paper considers the contribution that biorefineries, through the production of second-generation biofuels from lignocellulosic feedstocks, can make in the Republic of Ireland to the mandated 10% transport biofuel quotient for 2020. An emphasis is placed on the avoidance of land-use conflict issues and, hence, on the prioritization of waste/residue utilization before dedicated energy crops are grown. It is concluded that up to 5.3% of the 2010 demand for biofuels can be met from the utilization of feasible quantities of wastes and residues in near-term biorefining technologies and that 5% of the 2020 petrol and diesel demand can be met via processing a similar quantity of waste in advanced biorefining processes based on consolidated bioprocessing micro-organisms and syngas-reforming catalysts. The remaining biofuel requirements for 2020 can be met by processing energy crops. Between 1.4% and 15.9% of the agricultural area of Ireland is required for the production of these crops, depending on the particular feedstock and technology employed. The production of a high-yielding Miscanthus crop that is harvested directly after senescence will place the minimum requirement on Irish land.

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Hayes, D. J. (2008) An Examination of Biorefining Processes, Catalysts and Challenges, Catalysis Today 145(1-2):138-151

Click for abstract
Biofuels offer the potential to substitute for a large proportion of fossil fuels, however it is considered that the utilisation of lignocellulosic biomass, via second-generation biorefining technologies, will be necessary for this to be achieved economically and sustainably. The lignocellulosic matrix is complex and recalcitrant to conversion but research in biorefining is advancing rapidly and commercial facilities are expected in the near-term. These facilities will either employ hydrolytic mechanisms to break apart the structural polysaccharides of the biomass, or thermochemical procedures to dehydrate and volatilise the feedstock. Catalysts serve vital roles in both approaches: acids and enzymes facilitate the hydrolysis of cellulose; while metal and biological catalysts can alter the volatilisation profiles of biomass or reform the gases that are liberated in the thermochemical process. Each potential biorefining technology currently has its own drawbacks and advantages and it is likely that a range of procedures will be needed in order to fully exploit the values of very diverse ranges of lignocellulosic feedstocks.

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Book Chapters

Untitled Document

Hayes, D.J.M.  (2013) Biomass composition and its relevance to biorefining, The Role of Catalysis for the Sustainable Production of Biofuels and Bio-chemicals, K. Triantafyllidis, A. Lappas, M. Stoker, Elsevier B. V. 27-65

Click for abstract
Biomass feedstocks for the production of biofuels and chemicals vary greatly in their chemical compositions. These differences affect which technologies are used for processing. First generation technologies focus on the conversion of sugars, starches, and oils whilst second generation technologies process lignocellulose. While the conversion in first generation processes is relatively facile, the processing of lignocellulose is hindered by the complexity of the biomass matrix. Lignocellulosic feedstocks, however, tend to be significantly less costly, in economic, environmental, and energy terms, to produce. The effects of the various constituents on the conversion of biomass by either hydrolytic or thermochemical means are discussed, as are the logistical considerations needed when sourcing feedstocks. Biomass can be classified as a specifically grown energy crop, an agricultural residue, or a waste resource. Several examples of lignocellulosic feedstocks are discussed for each of these types and representative chemical data for a variety of materials presented.


Hayes, D. J.Hayes, M. H. B., Daly, M. M. (2006) Operação inovadora de biorrefino para produção de oleos combustiveis e de quimico-platforma a partir de carboidratos de biomassa e de residuos diversos,  Usos alternativos da palhada residual da produção de sementes para pastagens, F. H. D. de Souza, E. B. Pott, O. Primavesi, A. C. C. Bernardi, EMBRAPA, Sao Carlos, SP, Brazil:161-191

Hayes, D. J., Fitzpatrick, S. W., Hayes, M. H. B.Ross, J. R. H. (2005) The Biofine Process: Production of levulinic acid, furfural and formic acid from lignocellulosic feedstocks, Biorefineries: Industrial Processes and Products, B. Kamm, P. R. Gruber , M. Kamm, Wiley, Weinheim, Germany 1:139-164
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Conference Proceedings

Untitled Document

Hayes, D. J. (2004) Oil substitutes utilising humic precursors: The development of a carbohydrate economy, Humic Substances and Soil and Water Environment,  L. Martin-Neto, EMBRAPA, Sao Carlos, SP, Brazil:11-13


Presentations

Untitled Document

Hayes, D. J. M.  (2012) DIBANET, An integrated approach for making the best use of biomass, 1st Iberoamerican Congress on Biorefineries, Los Cabos, Mexico, Oct 24-26
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2012) Feedstock evaluation and development of rapid analytical methods, DIBANET and SMART CHP Networking Day, Thessaloniki, Greece, 31st Oct
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2012) Collaboration in Biorefinery Research Between Europe and Latin America, III Latin American Congress Biorefineries, Pucon, Chile, 19-21 Nov
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2011) Analysis of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks for Biorefineries with a Focus on The Development of Near Infrared Spectroscopy as a Primary Analytical Tool, PhD Viva Presentation, University of Limerick, 24 Aug 2011
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2011) NIRS Analysis of Wet Miscanthus Samples - Development of NIRS as a Primary Analytical Tool, COST FP0901 Meeting, Paris, France, 26 Jan 2011
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2010) Introduction to the Biorefinery Concept, DIBANET Networking Day, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dec 13 2010
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2010) Biomass Research at Carbolea, University of Limerick, Globe Forum, Dublin, Ireland, Nov 18th 2010
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2010) Pyrolysis and the Production and Utilisation of Biochar, EPA Waste to Resource Conference, Dublin, Ireland, Sep. 27th 2010
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2010) Ion Chromatography Analysis of Lignocellulosic Biomass for Evaluation of Biofuel Yields, Dionex Users Group, Dublin, Ireland, Nov 18th 2010
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Hayes, D. J. (2010) European feedstocks, DIBANET Networking Day, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dec 13 2010
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Hayes, D. J. (2010) Conventional methods of biomass analysis, DIBANET Summer School, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dec 14th 2010
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Hayes, D. J. (2010) Rapid biomass analysis methods, DIBANET Summer School, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dec 14th 2010
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Hayes, D. J. M. (2009) The New Generation of Biofuels: How Europe and Latin America can Work Together, CONEIAP XIX, Cali, Colombia, July 1st 2009


Posters

Untitled Document

Hayes, D. J. M.Leahy, J. J.Hayes, M. H. B. (2012) Analysis of European Biomass Feedstocks and Development of Near Infrared Spectroscopy as a Rapid Analytical Tool, DIBANET Networking Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece, Oct 31st
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Hayes, D. J. (2009) Analysis of Biomass Feedstocks and Evaluation of Suitability for Biorefining and Pyrolysis, IRCSET 2009 Symposium - Innovation Fuelling the Smart Society, Dublin, 25 Sep 2009
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Videos

Untitled Document

Hayes, D. J. M. (2012) Feedstock evaluation and development of rapid analytical methods, DIABNET Networking Event, Thessaloniki, Greece, 31st Oct 2012

Click for abstract




Reports

Untitled Document

Hayes, D. J. M. (2012) Review of Biomass Feedstocks and Guidelines of Best Practice, DIBANET WP2 Report:150 pages

Click for abstract
This document is the result of the evaluation of biomass feedstocks, from Europe and Latin America, that took place as part of the DIBANET project. That project is co-financed from the 7 th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Demonstration of the European Union. (Title: Enhancing international cooperation between the EU and Latin America in the field of biofuels; Grant Agreement No: 227248-2).

The work in Task 2.1 of Work Package 2 (WP2) at DIBANET partners UL, CTC, and UNICAMP involved evaluating, on a number of levels, potential feedstocks for utilisation in the DIBANET acid-hydrolysis process (WP3). In the early stage of the project a wide number of feedstocks were examined and relevant secondary compositional data were sought from the literature. Selected feedstocks were analysed at the laboratories of UL, CTC, and UNICAMP and, from these, a limited number of feedstocks were subjected to more in-depth analysis/evaluation.

Work at UL focused on Miscanthus, cereal straws, and waste papers. The wet-chemical and spectroscopic analysis that was carried out on a wide number of Miscanthus samples have allowed for in-depth understandings to be reached regarding the changes in lignocellulosic composition, and potential biomass/biofuel yields that could be realised over the harvest window. Straws present much less chemical variation but have enough structural carbohydrates to warrant their processing in the DIBANET technology. Waste papers can have amongst the highest total carbohydrate contents of any of the feedstocks studied.

Work at CTC focused on the residues of the sugarcane industry – sugarcane bagasse and sugarcane trash (field residues from harvesting). A large number of samples were collected from a variety of sugar mills and plantations. It has been seen that there can be a significant variation in the composition of different bagasse samples, particularly with regards to the ash content. Sugarcane trash has lower total carbohydrates contents than bagasse but is still a suitable feedstock for DIBANET.

Work at UNICAMP focused on the evaluation of residues from the banana, coffee, and coconut industries. It was found that these also have potential for utilisation in the DIBANET process, however the value of the residues for this end-use is dependent on which part of the plant is utilised. For instance, coffee husks have sufficient structural carbohydrates to allow for decent yields of levulinic acid, formic acid, and furfural in DIBANET, however the leaves of the coffee plant do not. Leaves from the banana plant are also of less value for DIBANET than the other parts of the plant (e.g. stem).

A major output of this Deliverable is the downloadable electronic database that contains all of the WP2 analytical data obtained during the course of the project. It contains analytical data and predicted biorefining yields for a total of 1,281 samples. It can be obtained, free of charge, from the DIBANET website and will be a valuable tool for stakeholders in biorefining projects.

This document presents the data and evaluations that were made regarding biomass feedstocks, and also puts forward “guidelines of best practice” in terms of making the best use of these resources. A shortened version of this document can also be downloaded from the DIBANET website.

Download the short version

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Hayes, D. J. (2012) Protection of NIR Calibration Equations and their Application for Biomass Analysis, DIBANET WP2 Report:71 pages

Hayes, D. J. M. (2011) Analysis of Lignocellulosic Feedstocks for Biorefineries with a Focus on The Development of Near Infrared Spectroscopy as a Primary Analytical Tool, PhD Thesis:832 pages (over 2 volumes)

Click for abstract
The 2 volumes of the thesis can also be downloaded separately.

Volume 1, Volume 2, Viva Presentation

Abstract:

The processing of lignocellulosic materials in modern biorefineries will allow for the production of transport fuels and platform chemicals that could replace petroleum-derived products. However, there is a critical lack of relevant detailed compositional information regarding feedstocks relevant to Ireland and Irish conditions. This research has involved the collection, preparation, and the analysis, with a high level of precision and accuracy, of a large number of biomass samples from the waste and agricultural sectors. Not all of the waste materials analysed are considered suitable for biorefining; for example the total sugar contents of spent mushroom composts are too low. However, the waste paper/cardboard that is currently exported from Ireland has a chemical composition that could result in high biorefinery yields and so could make a significant contribution to Ireland’s biofuel demands.

Miscanthus was focussed on as a major agricultural feedstock. A large number of plants have been sampled over the course of the harvest window (October to April) from several sites. These have been separated into their anatomical fractions and analysed. This has allowed observations to be made regarding the compositional trends observed within plants, between plants, and between harvest dates. Projections are made regarding the extents to which potential chemical yields may vary. For the DIBANET hydrolysis process that is being developed at the University of Limerick, per hectare yields of levulinic acid from Miscanthus could be 20% greater when harvested early compared with a late harvest.

The wet-chemical analysis of biomass is time-consuming. Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been developed as a rapid primary analytical tool with separate quantitative models developed for the important constituents of Miscanthus, peat, and (Australian) sugarcane bagasse. The work has demonstrated that accurate models are possible, not only for dry homogenous samples, but also for wet heterogeneous samples. For glucose (cellulose) the root mean square error of prediction (RMSEP) for wet samples is 1.24% and the R2 for the validation set (R_val^2) is 0.931. High accuracies are even possible for minor analytes; e.g. for the rhamnose content of wet Miscanthus samples the RMSEP is 0.03% and the R_val^2 is 0.845. Accurate models have also been developed for pre-treated Miscanthus samples and are discussed. In addition, qualitative models have been developed. These allow for samples to be discriminated for on the basis of plant fraction, plant variety (giganteus/non-giganteus), harvest-period (early/late), and stand-age (one-year/older).

Quantitative NIRS models have also been developed for peat, although the heterogeneity of this feedstock means that the accuracies tend to be lower than for Miscanthus. The development of models for sugarcane bagasse has been hindered, in some cases, by the limited chemical variability between the samples in the calibration set. Good models are possible for the glucose and total sugars content, but the accuracy of other models is poorer. NIRS spectra of Brazilian bagasse samples have been projected onto these models, and onto those developed for Miscanthus, and the Miscanthus models appear to provide a better fit than the Australian bagasse models.

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Hayes, D. J. (2007) State of Play in The Biorefining Industry:109 pages

Click for abstract
Currently, on a commercial scale, all biofuels are being produced by “firstgeneration” technologies. These require expensive and high-maintenance starch/sucrose/oil-based crops as their feedstocks. Such crops tend to be detrimental to the soil and have poor energy ratios (some researchers even propose that the entire production-cycle for ethanol sourced from corn in the USA may consume more fossil energy than is present in the final product).

Mass-scale penetration of economical biofuels will only become feasible when lower value cellulosic feedstocks can be utilised. These can include: waste materials, such as cellulosic municipal solid waste; agricultural residues, such as straw; and highyielding low-maintenance energy crops, such as miscanthus and switchgrass. In order to derive value-added chemicals and fuels from these resources the lignocellulose matrix needs to be broken up and converted. Such technologies can be called “secondgeneration” and encompass the principle of a biorefinery, in that each chemical fraction is utilised for a specific end-product.

There are many potential mechanisms for lignocellulosic fractionation, the two main ones being: hydrolysis of the polysaccharides to their monomeric constituents (or their derivatives); and liquefaction (either direct or indirect) of biopolymers to basic elements, which are then recombined into chemicals and fuels.

Generally, hydrolysis schemes require the feedstock to be pretreated to a state more amenable for polysaccharide breakdown. There are many possible means of doing this: a few examples include the utilisation of steam explosion, supercritical CO2, ammonia treatment, or acids. Following pretreatment there are many ways in which polysaccharides can be hydrolysed, for example with concentrated/dilute acids, steam, enzymes, or with solvents. After hydrolysis the end-product is often in a state suitable for fermentation to ethanol (or potentially other useful chemicals such as butanol). The hydrolysis mechanism does not usually result in significant chemical alteration of the lignin biopolymer, which typically remains as a solid and can be used for heat generation or as a gasification feedstock. Technologies for producing value-added chemical derivatives of lignin are not yet well developed.

Direct liquefaction (which may also be termed pyrolysis, thermochemical conversion or thermal depolymerisation), involves the use of heat and pressure to produce an oil or chemicals (as well as non-condensable gases and a char material). Indirect liquefaction involves gasification of biomass to basic gaseous elements (CO and H2), which are then reformed to synthetic chemicals and fuels. Given that biopolymers are more extensively deconstructed than in hydrolysis schemes, particularly in gasification, end products can be less dependent on the molecular composition of biopolymers than on their elemental composition meaning that biofuel synthesis from lignin becomes feasible.
While there are no commercial biorefineries in full-scale operation, there are several pilot plants operational and many more companies promoting plans for large-scale lignocellulosic fuel production. This document attempts to summarise all the biorefining companies and technologies that are researchable under the public domain (there is therefore no evaluation of companies such as Convertech). Where sufficient process data or history is available, the company will be evaluated for its technology and/or future plans. Particular relevance will be paid to the likelihood of commercial biofuel/biochemical production in the near future. The document will be split into five sections:
(1) Companies that appear to be closest to commercial deployment of a true “second-generation” facility.
(2) Companies that are planning pilot-facilities in the short term, or commercial facilities in the longer term.
(3) Companies/organisation engaged in more basic biorefinery research. This also includes notes on research being conducted at various universities around the world.
(4) Companies involved in the development of enzymes and organisms for enzymatic-hydrolysis and fermentation.
(5) Companies involved in the genetic-engineering/breeding of plants.

It has not been possible to devote equal amounts of time and thought to each technology since the publicly available data on them vary greatly. In many instances, there has been virtually no information provided about a company’s technology. This could be because the company prefers to keep its process secret and feels no need to publish it on the public domain. It could also, however, be because there are inherent flaws with the process or that the claims promoted on press-releases/websites would appear extravagant or dishonest given a thorough examination of the technology. While the burgeoning biorefining sector offers huge investment and production potential, it also offers the prospect for “cowboy-schemes” and stock-market manipulations as was seen with the dot com bubble. It is not always easy to spot which companies are engaged in such activities given that presentation and marketing are usually their best assets but where the scientific claims seem outlandish or illogical I have made note. It is probable that established companies, which have revenue streams in other sectors, are more likely to be honest and reliable in their claims for new processes and technologies. Recently-formed companies could be considered to be more risky and their claims, potentially, more off-the-mark given that they may require private investment or favourable market trading. It is highly unlikely that all of the dozens of companies mentioned here will operate successfully and profitably, but there represents such a wide spread of technologies and market strategies that several should persevere into the developing carbohydrate economy which looks set to dominate the transport and chemical sectors in the 21 st century.

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Hayes, D. J. (2004) An Examination of Irish Feedstocks for Biorefineries, PhD Transfer Thesis:298 pages
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Hayes, D. J. (2000) Energy analysis, with the determination of energy ratios, for the generation of electricity from energy crops, Undergraduate Thesis

Click for abstract
Energy crops have been said to be one of the more viable of current renewable energy technologies because of high load factors and minimal environmental effects. There are concerns that the energy consumed in producing the crop is too high when compared with the usable energy gained. In this dissertation the technique of energy analysis was used to systematically analyse all energy aspects of coppice production, supply, and electricity generation in order to calculate an energy ratio (defined as the energy out divided by the energy put in). For a scheme to be viable the ratio must be above one. An EXCEL spreadsheet model was developed to calculate the ratio and to accommodate changes in parameters. Standard data involved an 8MW generating capacity plant and a radius for possible crop production of 50km. A 320km 2 section of an ordinance survey map was scanned in to the SEMPER image-processing program and a viable level of afforestation was calculated, based on land features and their exclusion zones.

In the standard scenario an energy ratio of 20.41 before generation and of 4.94 after was obtained. It was found that the ratio and the energy yield were highly sensitive to the efficiency of the conversion plant, the expected yield of the crop, and the levels of chemical fertiliser inputs. The sensitivity was significantly less for other factors. Fertilisation by waste sludge products was found to yield significant improvements in the energy budget. The standard scenario had an afforestation level of less than 0.5%. Data from the SEMPER study suggested practical levels of afforestation of over 9.5%. Such levels had a positive effect on energy ratios and yields.

The results indicated that perceptions of the inefficiencies of energy crops have been wrong and that the capabilities for ratio improvements could be realised through a wellorganised system structure and likely advances in the future in field and plant efficiencies.

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Research Areas

Untitled Document

Analysis of Feedstocks and Process Outputs

There are excellent facilities at the University of Limerick that facilitate our analytical work. Analytical protocols being conducted at Carbolea include: lignocellulosic components of potential biorefining materials; soil organic matter composition; biochar properties; and the products of conversion and catalytic processes.

 

 


Biorefining and Second Generation Biofuels

Carbolea researchers have been active for some time in the field of biomass conversion to high-value end products and fuels (biorefining). Work here covers the evaluation and development of biorefining feedstocks and technologies

 

 


Effective Utilisation of Wastes

We recognise that waste materials can have real value, particularly in biorefining and pyrolysis schemes. Carbolea researchers are looking to analyse wastes and evaluate their value in such processes and also develop more effective methods for their utilisation.

 

 


Miscanthus

Miscanthus is a herbaceous energy crop that can be highly productive in Ireland. It has been studied and processed in many of the projects undertaken at Carbolea.

 

 


Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Near infrared spectroscopy is an important part of our analytical regime. It offers the potential for the rapid analysis of biomass feedstocks and the products of biomass conversion without the need for timely and costly wet chemical analytical techniques.

 

 



Projects

Current Projects

Untitled Document

DIBANET

Carbolea is co-ordinating a large FP7 project that involves close collaboration between 13 partners, 7 from Latin America and 6 from Europe. The focus of this project is on the sustainable production of diesel miscible biofuels from the residues and wastes of both regions.

 

 


EPA Funded - Analysis of Irish Waste Materials

The EPA STRIVE programme has funded a project that will allow Carbolea researchers to analyse, in detail, the various waste materials that arise in Ireland. The laboratory analysis will be geared towards looking for components relevant to hydrolysis or thermochemical biorefining technologies. Near Infrared Spectroscopy will also be integrated into the analytical protocol and its utility in the rapid analysis of waste will be assessed. The primary compositional data will inform a comparison between utilising these waste materials in biorefineries compare with more traditional means of waste treatment.

 

 


Evaluate Agricultural Feedstocks and Biorefining Technologies

In association with the Department of Agriculture, UL researchers are undertaking a desk-based evaluation of biorefining technologies and feedstocks for Ireland with a focus on the products of the agricultural sector. This work also involves a signifcant amount of lab-work characterising these feedstocks.

 

 


Completed Projects

Untitled Document

Peat Analysis for Biorefining Processes

Various types of peats have been collected and analysed via wet chemical and spectroscopic techniques. The resulting compositional data have enabled predictions to be made concerning the value of these peats in various biorefining technologies.

 

 


News Articles

Untitled Document

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.

Abstract:
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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: 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.


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.


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

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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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"


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.

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