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DIBANET

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summary

DIBANET is a research project funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. This project is being co-ordinated by Carbolea at the University of Limerick and is a response to the Energy 2008 Call - "Significant enhancement of the cooperation between key researchers & industries from the EU & Latin America in the field of biofuels". DIBANET stands for the "Development of Integrated Biomass Approaches NETwork" & the title of the Project is "The Production of Sustainable Diesel Miscible Biofuels from the Residues & Wastes of Europe & Latin America". There are 13 partners in the group, 6 from the EU & 7 from Latin America (LA). The total budget for the project is €3.7m, with €1.4m going to the Carbolea Research Group at UL.

DIBANET will develop technologies to help towards eliminating the need for fossil diesel imports in the EU & LA by advancing the art in the production of ethyl-levulinate from organic wastes and residues. Ethyl levulinate (EL) is a novel diesel miscible biofuel (DMB) produced by esterifying ethanol with levulinic acid.

DIBANET aims to:

  • Optimise the yields of levulinic acid, from the conversion of biomass.

  • Improve the energy balance & the total biofuel yields possible from a feedstock by sustainably utilising the residues in pyrolysis processes to produce a bio-oil that will be upgraded to a DMB.

  • Reduce the energy & chemical costs involved in producing ethyl levulinate from levulinic acid & ethanol.

  • Select key biomass feedstocks for conversion to levulinic acid, analyse these, & develop rapid analytical methods that can be used in an online process.

  • Analyse the DMBs produced for their compliance to EN590 requirements &, if non-compliant, suggest means to achieve compliance.

DIBANET will enhance co-operation between the EU & LA in biofuels by:

  • Developing a tightly-integrated online network of key players in the EU & LA.

  • Organising public meetings between key stakeholders from both regions.

  • Training PhD & post-doctoral researchers from the opposite region.

  • Develop an inter-regional Technology Transfer Business Plan for the most effective exploitation of the DIBANET technologies. This will consider the combined needs of the EU & LA & the potential for trade.

Role of Carbolea Research Group, UL:

  • Co-ordination of the project.

  • Reactor design & levulinic acid production.

  • Feedstock analysis

  • Develop of on-line NIR analytical tool.

  • Pretreatment for acid hydrolysis using ionic liquids.

  • Slow pyrolysis and biochar analysis.

DIBANET Partners

partners

Aston University - Aston University's Bioenergy Research Group (BERG) is a strong player in the field of fast pyrolysis.

CERTH - DIBANET will use the laboratory of Environmental Fuels and Hydrocarbons (LEFH) at the Center for Research and Technology–Hellas (CERTH) in Greece. This laboratory has extensive pyrolysis and catalytic pyrolysis pilot facilities.

FOSS Analytical - The company, based in Denmark, is currently the world’s leading provider of analytical instruments and has been providing analytical solution to the biofuel industry for decades. It is devoted to further improvements and new developments in this area, both for current biofuel production as well as for future production processes.

Geonardo - Geonardo is an energy and environmental technology firm and a technical consulting service specialising in biomass and biofuel resources management. Its core strengths lie in establishing networks between stakeholders (e.g. the "Biofuel Marketplace").

CTC - CTC is Brazil's leading private research and technology organisation and is involved in all areas of sugarcane production and utilisation.

UFRJ - The Nucleus of Catalysis (NUCAT) group of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) is a centre of excellence for the development of basic and applied research in catalysis.

University of Buenos Aires - The Laboratory of Catalytic Process (LPC) at UBA (Argentina) is involved in: kinetics studies; design, modelling and optimization of catalytic reactors; synthesis and catalyst characterization and computational catalysis.

Repsol YPF - Repsol YPF is an international integrated oil and gas company. The Argentinian branch in involved in DIBANET and will analyse the fuels produced and help to commercialise the outputs of the research.

EMBRAPA Soils -Embrapa Soils (EM), located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is involved in the analysis of biochars in close collaboration with UL. EM has vast experience in tropical soils, C sequestration and agricultural use of pyrolysis residues studies, of particular importance for assessing the sustainability of biorefinery feedstock supply cycles in tropical conditions, residues destination and improvement of soil fertility and sustainability.

Fundacion Chile - Fundación Chile is a non-profit institution focussed on research activities that lead to innovations and the development of knowledge in the Chilean economy's key clusters in alliance with local and global knowledge networks.

UNICAMP - The Theoretical and Applied Chemometrics Laboratory in the University of Campinas (Brazil) is involved in DIBANET in the analysis of Latin American biomass feedstocks.

Concept

Europe and Latin America share common needs and threats. The increasing reliance on imported diesel fuels is a problem for both regions. Many of the current feedstocks used for biofuel production have a variety of economic, technical and environmental problems and can not satisfy our diesel needs. Europe and Latin America (LA) are also experiencing annual increases in their quantities of organic wastes. Ideally these would be used to produce diesel fuels but there are technical limitations with waste-to-biofuel technologies in their current art.

DIBANET will develop technologies to help towards eliminating the need for fossil diesel imports in either region, improving the security of energy supply. DIBANET will achieve this by advancing the art in the production of ethyl-levulinate from organic wastes and residues.

The DIBANET Scientific Objectives will bring substantial cost reductions that can help pave the way for large scale biofuel production by 2020, not only in the EU but also in LA. It is important, however, that any food versus fuel conflicts that may result from using food or dedicated agricultural land for feedstock production do not arise. Hence the research in DIBANET will be primarily dedicated towards the utilisation of waste or residual materials that do not require dedicated land and should, in doing so, expand the biomass feedstock available for biofuel production.

DIBANET defines a diesel miscible biofuel (DMB) as one which meets EN590 specifications, can be mixed with fossil diesel and used in a regular diesel engine. The Figure below illustrates the pathways in a conceptual DIBANET Processes Chain, starting with one tonne of a typical biomass feedstock (e.g. sugarcane bagasse), for the production of DMBs.

dibanet_process_chain

The Process Chain is designed so that the maximal yields of DMBs will result in a sustainable manner. It involves the following steps:

  1. Optimisation of the sourcing, selection and preparation of the feedstock.

  2. The hydrolysis and subsequent degradation of biomass. This can produce (i) levulinic acid, (ii) furfural (which can be converted to levulinic acid via hydrogenation), (iii) formic acid, and (iii) solid residues (SR).

  3. The esterification of levulinic acid with (sustainable) ethanol to produce the DMB ethyl-levulinate.

  4. Pyrolysis of some or all of the SR to produce a bio-oil and a biochar. Pyrolysis can be enhanced by using the formic acid produced in (2) as a co-feed.

  5. Upgrading (catalytic) of the bio-oil to produce an upgraded bio-oil (UBO) that is miscible with diesel.

  6. Utilisation of the biochar as a soil-amender for plant-growth promotion or to fuel the processes.

There will be a focus on the minimisation of the use of fossil fuels throughout the process. This may require that certain steps in the DIBANET process chain are removed (to enable some of the mass flow to be used for the production of process heat and energy) or that other sources of renewable energy are added. Excitingly, it is possible that a configuration of the DIBANET process chain may provide a means for obtaining carbon negative biofuels through using biochar as a soil amender. Biochar is highly resistant to degradation, hence its addition to land (rather than its combustion) can offer a very effective means for sequestering carbon.


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Material/Downloads

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Summary Statistics

Carbolea
Total

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

Total
for Last
5 Years

Journal Papers

8

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Book Chapters

1

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0

Conference Papers

0

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0

0

0

0

0

Presentations

17

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0

0

0

Posters

3

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0

0

0

0

0

Videos

2

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0

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0

Reports

3

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Patents

1

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Journal Articles

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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.


Girisuta, B.K. DussanD. HavertyJ.J. LeahyM.H.B. Hayes (2013) A kinetic study of acid catalysed hydrolysis of sugarcane bagasse to levulinic acid, Chemical Engineering Journal 217:61-70

Click for abstract
There is a significant research effort worldwide to identify attractive chemical conversion routes for lignocellulosic biomass to organic (bulk-)chemicals. This study has focussed on the acid-catalysed hydrolysis of sugar cane bagasse for the production of levulinic acid (LA), a platform chemical used for the synthesis of a variety of materials for applications such as fuel additives and polymer and resin precursors. The objectives of this study were to develop a broadly applicable kinetic model for the acid-catalysed hydrolysis of sugar cane bagasse to LA and to determine the optimum reaction conditions for its production. Systematic kinetic experiments were carried out by varying the reaction temperature between 150 and 200 °C, and the sulphuric acid concentration between 0.11 and 0.55 M. The highest LA yield was obtained at 150 °C and 0.55 M H2SO4 at 63 mol%, which equates to the production of 194 kg of LA from 1 dry tonne of sugar cane bagasse. The kinetic model developed was in good agreement with the experimental data and also with the previous kinetic models developed for cellulose and sugar cane bagasse. Our kinetic model, though developed for the sugar cane bagasse, can be applied over a wide range of hydrolysis reaction conditions for lignocellulosic biomass. Based on the optimisation study carried out using our kinetic model, an empirical equation is proposed to predict the LA yield at a particular temperature and acid concentration.


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

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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.


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

Click for 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

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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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Girisuta B., Kalogiannis, K. G., Dussan, K.Leahy, J. J.Hayes, M. H. B., Stefanidis, S. (2012) An integrated process for the production of platform chemicals and diesel miscible fuels by acid-catalyzed hydrolysis and downstream upgrading of the acid hydrolysis residues with thermal and catalytic pyrolysis, Bioresource Technology 126:92-100

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

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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., Auccaise, R., Novotny, E. H., Leahy, J. J.Hayes, M. H. B. (2011) Pressurised pyrolysis of Miscanthus using a fixed bed reactor, Bioresource Technology 102(3):3466–3470

Click for 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. The properties of the char were determined using elemental analyses, surface area measurements using the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller equation, a calorimetric bomb, Scanning Electron Microscopy, and solid state 13C NMR spectroscopy. The chars were highly carbonised, especially at the higher pressures, and provided thermally stable materials. Pressure impacted greatly on the surface area. Char formed at atmospheric pressure had a surface area of 162 m2/g, whereas that from the highest pressure applied was only 0.137 m2/g



Book Chapters

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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

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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.



Presentations

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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, M.H.B. (2012) Production of platform chemicals in the DIBANET Project using novel pre-treatment methods and acid hydrolysis, Congress of Bioenergy, Xi’an, China, April 27th

Hayes, M.H.B. (2012) Platform chemicals and fuel additives from lignocellulosic biomass, CREES International Symposium, Dublin City University, June 4-6

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, M. H. B. (2011) Second Generation Biorefining, CHEMRAWN XIX, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sept. 28 2011
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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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Byrne, C. M. P. (2010) Biochar from Biorefinery Residuals, 3rd International Biochar Conference: IBI, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sep. 12 – 15, 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

Hayes, M. H. B. (2009) DIBANET - The Production of Sustainable Diesel Miscible Biofuels from the Residues and Wastes of Europe and Latin America, Tailor Made Fuels from Biomass, University of Aachen, Germany, June 24th 2009
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Posters

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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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Dussan, K. (2011) Peroxyformic Acid Pretreatment of Miscanthus x giganteusSeventh Edition of the International Conference on Renewable Resources and Biorefineries, Bruges, Belgium, 8 – 10 June 2011
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Byrne, C. M. P. (2009) DIBANET - Development of Integrated Biomass Approaches Network, IRCSET 2009 Symposium - Innovation Fuelling the Smart Society, Dublin, 25 Sep 2009
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Videos

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

Click for abstract



Haverty, D. (2012) Levulinic Acid Reactor and Process Development, DIBANET Networking Day, Thessaloniki, Greece, 31 Oct 2012

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Reports

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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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Patents

Untitled Document

Haverty, D. (2012) Lignocellulose processing, Patent Application #PCT/IE2012/000014

Personnel Involved

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Post-Doc

Post Doc. working on the analysis of biomass and the development of Near Infrared Spectroscopy as a primary analytical tool. Has a leading role in the DIBANET project.


Adjunct Professor

Expertise in soil and carbohydrate chemistry. Has lectured extensively on biorefining and biochar.


Senior Lecturer

An expert in analytical chemistry, biodiesel, and biomass combustion, pyrolysis, and gasification. Member of the Charles Parsons Initiative.


Post-Doc

Is involved in the design of a hydrolysis reactor for the DIBANET project.


PhD Student

PhD student, from Colombia but undertaking a full PhD at Carbolea, funded by the DIBANET Latin American Scholarship scheme. Her research focuses on novel biomass pretreatment techniques.


Technician

Is responsible for the preparation and analysis of biomass samples in the Carbolea laboratories.


News Articles

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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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




 

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