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Dr. Fergus Melligan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Fergus Melligan

Department:

Chemical and Environmental Science

Address:

Lonsdale Bldg., Uni. of Limerick

Position:

Post-Doc

Qualifications:

PhD, BSc (Industrial Chemistry)

Email:

Fergus.Melligan@ul.ie

Phone (work):

(353) 61 20 2550

Fax:

(353) 61 20 2572


Fergus obtained an honours degree in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Limerick in 2008 and in 2012 obtained a PhD as part of the Charles Parsons Initiative and the Carbolea Biomass Research Group. His PhD work involves studies of pyrolysis and second generation biorefining for the processing of carbohydrate waste materials and lignocellulose biomass to produce a high quality bio-oil which can be added to diesel. The initial focus of this project was on the optimisation of the pyrolysis process with respect to parameters such as temperature, gas flow rate, pressure, and feedstock composition for the production a potential diesel additives. Following on from this work, biomass hydro-pyrolysis with catalytic conditioning of the product vapours was investigated as a possible method of producing high grade pyrolysis oil and to increase the level of biomass conversion. Furthermore, a study was carried out to examine the effect of hydrogen pressure during hydro-pyrolysis. .

Fergus is currently investigating lignin and acid hydrolysis residue depolymerisation via catalytic hydro-pyrolysis. Another aspect of this work is the utilisation of formic acid as a hydrogen donor for the hydro-pyrolysis process.

Material/Downloads

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Summary Statistics

Carbolea
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Journal Articles

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F. MelliganM.H.B. HayesW. KwapinskiJ.J. Leahy (2013) A study of hydrogen pressure during hydropyrolysis of Miscanthus x giganteus and online catalytic vapour upgrading with Ni on ZSM-5, Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis

Click for abstract
Hydropyrolysis, coupled with a secondary catalytic reactor was used as a method of producing a bio-oil from Miscanthus x giganteus with low levels of oxygenated compounds and high yields of saturated hydrocarbons. This study used analytical Pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy for the analysis of products from the pyrolysis of Miscanthus. Hydropyrolysis was carried out at 600 °C, and the pyrolysis vapours then passed through a secondary reactor, which contained a 10% Ni on ZSM-5 catalyst. The hydrogen pressure for the separate reactions ranged from atmospheric pressure up to 30 bar. The results indicate that both hydrogen pressure and the incorporation of the Ni/ZSM-5 catalysts play an important role in the production of saturated hydrocarbons through the hydrogenation, dehydration and decarboxylation of oxygenated compounds. Also, in the absence of the catalyst the concentration of ethanoic acid can be significantly reduced with the increase in hydrogen pressure, and completely eliminated at 20 bar.

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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 MiscanthusBioresource Technology 108:258-263

Click for 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, FergusKarla Dussan, Ruben Auccaise, Etelvino H Novotny, James J LeahyMichael H.B. HayesWitold Kwapinski (2012) Characterisation of the products from pyrolysis of residues after acid hydrolysis of Miscanthus, Bioresource Technology 108:258-263

Click for 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.J.J. LeahyW. KwapinskiM.H.B. Hayes (2012) Hydro-pyrolysis of biomass and on-line catalytic vapour upgrading with Ni-ZSM and Ni-MCM-41, Energy and Fuels 26:6080-6090

Click for abstract
A catalyst reactor coupled with analytical pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (Py-GC/MS) was used to carry out online analysis of the product vapors from the fast pyrolysis of Miscanthus x giganteus, Scots pine, and mahogany. Pyrolysis was carried out in both an inert atmosphere of He gas and in a highly reducing atmosphere of H2. Significant changes in the vapor compositions were achieved with the use of H2 as the carrier gas. The most notable of these were the increases in the hydrocarbon compositions. The roles of ZSM-5, Ni/ZSM-5, MCM-41, and of Ni/MCM-41 catalysts on the compositions of the pyrolysis vapors were investigated. Lower amounts of the higher molecular weight phenolic compounds and larger amounts of the lighter phenols were observed in the presence of Ni supported on ZSM-5 and MCM-41. This effect was more evident for the 10% than for the 2.5% Ni loadings. Overall, the results both from the use of H2 as the carrier gas and from all the catalysts demonstrates significant improvements in the composition of the vapors. However, this resulted in the lowering of the quantities of condensable products.



Conference Proceedings

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Melligan F.Leahy J. J.Hayes M.H.B.Kwapinski W. (2012) Hydro-pyrolysis of biomass and on-line catalytic vapour upgrading with Ni-ZSM-5 and Ni-MCM-41, COST UBIOCHEM, 3rd Workshop, Thessaloniki Greece, 1-3 November:17


Presentations

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Melligan F.Leahy J.J.Hayes M.H.B.Kwapinski W. (2012) Py–GC/MS of Miscanthus with Ni-ZSM-5 and Ni-MCM-41 under a hydrogen atmosphere, 19th International Symposium on Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, Linz, Austria, 21-25 May


Posters

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Melligan, F. (2009) Pyrolysis of Biomass to Produce Bio-Oil, IRCSET 2009 Symposium - Innovation Fuelling the Smart Society, Dublin, 25 Sep 2009
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Research Areas

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Bio-Oil

Bio-Oil is being produced via fast and slow pyrolysis from various feedstocks, including municipal and agricultural wastes and energy crops such as Miscanthus. These bio-oils are then characterised via a variety of analytical methods. Various routes for upgrading the quality of these bio-oils are also being investigated.

 

 


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

 

 


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.

 

 


Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is the thermal degradation of biomass in the absence of oxygen and allows for the production of bio-oil. biochar, and biogas.

 

 



Projects

Current Projects

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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.

 

 


Char Production, Characterisation and Optimisation

A major project is underway, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, involving the production of biochar and the analysis of its properties and how these influence its utility as a plant growth promoter, pollution remediant, and means for sequestering atmospheric carbon.

 

 


News Articles

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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.


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.


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


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


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.

 


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.


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.


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.



 

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