Research Areas

Dr. Witold Kwapinski









Chemical and Environmental Science
Lonsdale Building (office: L1 006), Uni. of Limerick
PhD (Chemical Engineering), MIChemE
(+353) 61 23 4935

From 01/2011 Dr. Witold Kwapinski works as Lecturer in Dept of Chemical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Limerick (Ireland).

He is a Course Director in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering BEng (Hons) accredited by IChemE.

His research interests are focused on second generation biomass conversion processes, and particularly on the thermal conversion of waste biomass into char, biofuels and chemicals and process optimisation.

Witold is Ireland's delegate Management Committee member to European Science Foundation's Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology Research Action: COST TD1203 'Food waste valorisation for sustainable chemicals, materials & fuels', and COST FP1205 'Innovative applications of regenerated wood cellulose fibres'.

Management Committee member of IChemE AIMG (Institution of Chemical Engineers All Ireland Member Group)

He also plays a role of External Expert in Biomass Thermal Conversion Area in the Energy Research Centre in Ostrava

Witold is Visiting Lecturer at:

                                             Cambridge University, Materials Science & Metallurgy Dept., Cambridge UK

                                              Aalto University, Energy Technology Dept., Espoo/Helsinki Finland

                                              Lodz Technical University, Chemistry Dept., Lodz Poland

Previous experience:

07/2007 - 12/2010 Senior Research Fellow at the University of Limerick

2006 - 06/2007 Marie Curie Fellowship in the Centre for Process Integration at the University of Manchester (UMIST)

2001 - 2005 Directly after his PhD defense, he was employed as a Research Assistant in the Department of Thermal Process Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg (Germany)

1994 - 2001 Assistant / Lecturer at the Technical University of Lodz, Faculty of Process and Environmental Engineering

Research Projects - the list

Recent Peer-Reviewed Journals Publications:

Wnetrzak R., Hayes D.J.M., Jensen L.S., Leahy J.J., Kwapinski W. Determination of the higher heating value of pig manure. Waste and Biomass Valorization , 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12649-015-9350-y

Kaluzna-Czaplinska J., Rosiak A., Kwapinska M., Kwapinski W. Different analytical procedures in the studies of organic residues in archaeological ceramic samples with the use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Critical Reviews in Analytical Chemistry , 2015. http://dx.doi.org/

Pandey D.S., Pan I., Das S., Leahy J.J., Kwapinski W. Multi-gene genetic programming based predictive models for municipal solid waste gasification in a fluidized bed gasifier. Bioresource Technology 179, 524-533, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2014.12.048

Tsaneva V.N., Kwapinski W., Teng X., Glowacki B.A. Assessment of the structural evolution of carbons from microwave plasma natural gas reforming and biomass pyrolysis using Raman spectroscopy. Carbon 80, 617-628, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbon.2014.09.005

Fox A., Kwapinski W., Griffiths B., Schmalenberger A. The role of sulfur and phosphorus mobilizing bacteria in biochar induced growth promotion of Lolium perenne. Microbiology Ecology 90, 78-91, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1574-6941.12374

Lynch D., Low F., Henihan A., Garcia A., Kwapinski W., Zhang L., Leahy J. Behavior of heavy metals during fluidized bed combustion of poultry litter. Energy and Fuels 28, 5158–5166, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ef500981k

Araujo J.R., Archanjo B.S., de Souza K.R., Kwapinski W., Falcão N.P.S., Novotny E.H., Achete C.A. Selective extraction of humic acids from an anthropogenic Amazonian dark earth and from a chemically oxidized charcoal. Biology and Fertility of Soils 50, 1223-1232, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00374-014-0940-9

Xue G., Kwapinska M., Horvat A., Kwapinski W., Rabou L.P.L.M., Dooley S., Czajka K.M., Leahy J.J. Gasification of torrefied Miscanthus×gigantenus in an air-blown bubbling fluidized bed gasifier. Bioresource Technology 159, 397–403, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2014.02.094

Li Z., Liu Y., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J. ZrO2-modified TiO2 nanorod composite: hydrothermal synthesis, characterisation and application in esterification of organic acid. Materials Chemistry and Physics 145, 82-89, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.matchemphys.2014.01.037

Grams J., Ura A., Kwapinski W. ToF-SIMS as a versatile tool to study the surface properties of silica supported cobalt catalyst for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Fuel 122, 301-309, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2014.01.005

Wnetrzak R., Leahy J.J., Chojnacka K., Saeid A., Novotny E.H., Jensen L.S., Kwapinski W. Influence of the pig manure biochar mineral content on Cr(III) sorption capacity. Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology 89, 569-578, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jctb.4159

Xue G., Kwapinska M., Horvat A., Li Z., Dooley S., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J. Gasification of miscanthus x giganteus in an air-blown bubbling fluidized bed: a preliminary study of performance and aglomeration. Energy and Fuels 28, 1121-1131, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ef4022152

Xue G., Kwapinska M., Kwapinski W., Czajka K.M., Kennedy J., Leahy J.J. Impact of torrefaction on the properties of Miscanthus×giganteus prior to gasification. Fuel 121, 189-197, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2013.12.022

Ruppert A.M., Niewiadomski M., Grams J., Kwapinski W. Optimization of Ni/ZrO2 catalytic performance in thermochemical cellulose conversion for enhanced hydrogen production. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental 145, 85-95, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apcatb.2013.01.010

Lynch D., Henihan A.M., Zhang L., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J. Ash agglomeration and deposition during combustion of poultry litter in a bubbling fluidised bed combustor. Energy and Fuels 27, 4684-4694, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ef400744u

Wnetrzak R., Kwapinski W., Peters K., Sommer S.G., Jensen L.S., Leahy J.J. The influence of the pig manure separation system on the energy production potentials. Bioresource Technology 136, 502-508, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2013.03.001

Melligan F., Kwapinski W., Hayes M.H.B., Leahy J.J. 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 103, 369-377, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaap.2013.01.005

Lynch D., Henihan A.M., Bowen B., Lynch D., McDonnell K., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J. Utilisation of poultry litter as an energy feedstock Biomass and Bioenergy 49, 197-204, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2012.12.009

Troy S.M., Nolana T., Leahy J.J., Lawlor P.G., Healy M.G., Kwapinski W.Effect of sawdust addition and composting of feedstock on renewable energy and biochar production from pyrolysis of anaerobically digested pig manure. Biomass and Bioenergy 49, 1-9, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2012.12.014

Melligan, F., Hayes, M.H.B.,, Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J. Pyrolysis GC/MS of Miscanthus x giganteus with Ni-ZSM-5 and Ni-MCM-41 in a hydrogen atmosphere. Energy and Fuels 26, 6080-6090, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ef301244h

Li Z., Wnetrzak R., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J. Synthesis and characterisation of sulfated TiO2 nanorods and ZrO2/TiO2 nanorod composites for the esterification of bio-oil model organic acid. Journal Applied Materials and Interfaces 4, 4499-4505, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/am300510u

Kolodynska D., Wnetrzak R., Leahy J.J., Hayes M.H.B., Kwapinski W., Hubicki Z. Adsorptive characterisation of biochar in heavy metal ions removal. Chemical Engineering Journal 197, 295-305, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2012.05.025

Troy S.T., Nolan T., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J., Healy M.G., Lawlora P.G. Effect of sawdust addition on composting of separated raw and anaerobically digested pig manure. Journal of Environmental Management 111, 70-77, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.06.035

Linhares C.R., Lemke J., Auccaise R., Duo D.A., Ziolli R.L., Kwapinski W., Novotny E.H. Chemical functionalisation of activated charcoal - Reproducing the Terras Pretas de Indios organic matter model. Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brasileira 47(5), 693-698, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-204X2012000500009

Novotny E.H., Auccaise R., Velloso M.H.R., Correa J.C., Higarashi M.M., Abreu V.M.N., Rocha J.D., Kwapinski W. Characterisation of phosphate structures in swine bones biochar. Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brasileira 47(5), 693-698, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-204X2012000500006

Melligan, F., Dussan, K., Auccaise, R., Novotny, E.H., Leahy, J.J., Hayes, M.H.B., Kwapinski, W. Characterisation of the products from pyrolysis of residues after acid hydrolysis of Miscanthus. Bioresource Technology 108, 258-263, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2011.12.110

Nolan T., Troy S.M., Healy M.G., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J., Lawlor P.G. Characterization of separated pig manure composted with a variety of bulking agents at low initial C/N ratios. Bioresource Technology 102, 7131-7138, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2011.04.066

Melligan F., Auccaise R., Novotny E., Leahy J.J., Hayes M.H.B., Kwapinski W. Pressurised pyrolysis of Miscanthus using a fixed bed reactor. Bioresource Technology 102, 3466-3470, 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2010.10.129

Kwapinski W., Byrne C., Kryachko E., Wolfram P., Adley C., Leahy J.J., Novotny E.H., Hayes M.H.B. Biochar from waste and biomass. Journal of Waste and Biomass Valorization 1, 177-189, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12649-010-9024-8

Kwapinski W., Salem K., Mewes D., Tsotsas E. Thermal and flow effects during adsorption in conventional, diluted and annular packed beds. Chemical Engineering Science 65, 4250-4260, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ces.2010.04.017

Kwapinski W., Combined wall and thermal effects during non-isothermal packed bed adsorption. Chemical Engineering Journal 152, 271-276, 2009. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2009.05.023

Recent Peer-Reviewed Conference Publications:

Wnetrzak R., Leahy J.J., Peters K., Jensen L.S., Kwapinski W. Energy production potentials from pyrolysis of pig manure. 4th International Symposium on Energy from Biomass and Waste, San Servolo, Venice Italy, 12-15 November 2012.

Fox A., Cullen R., Kwapinski W., Schmalenberger A. Bacterial mobilization of sulfur and phosphorous in biochar amended soils, 14th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology - The Power of the Small Copenhagen Denmark, 19-24 August 2012.

Melligan F., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J., Hayes M.H.B. Hydro-Pyrolysis GC/MS of Miscanthus x giganteus with Ni-ZSM-5 and Ni-MCM-41. Cat4Bio Thessaloniki Greece, 8-11 July 2012.

Melligan F., Leahy J.J., Hayes M.H.B., Kwapinski W. PyGC/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 2012.

Wnetrzak R., Leahy J.J., Kwapinski W. Catalytic esterification of bio-liquid from intermediate pyrolysis. 1st International Congress on Catalysis for Biorefineries - CatBior ISBN 978-8493912031 p. 572-577, Torremolinos-Málaga Spain, 2-5 October 2011.

Kwapinski W. Bio-char its properties and application. Invited speak at The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability climate weekend, the Carbon Cycles and Sinks Network and Gorta present, Dublin Ireland, 28 April 2011.

Kwapinski W. Thermo-chemical conversion of biomass to bio-char and bio-fuels and product upgrading. (Termo-chemiczna konwersja biomasy oraz jej produkty) The 35th Symposium on Chemistry for Agriculture, Karpacz, Poland, 28/11-01/12 2010. - plenary lecture

Kwapinski W., Troy S., Wnetrzak R., Piterina A., Healy M.G., Nolan T., Lawlor P.G., Leahy J.J., Hayes M.H.B. Pyrolysism of waste organic substances and product application. Workshop on Managing livestock manure for sustainable agriculture, Wageningen The Natherlands, 24-25/11 2010.

Kwapinska M., Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J.: Pilot-plant gasification of miscanthus: a technical assessment. 10th European Gasification Conference, Amsterdam The Netherlands, October 2010.

Other Reports:

Kwapinski W., Leahy J.J. Feasibility study for the construction of a pilot/commercial - scale pyrolysis unit. Report for the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (FEASTA) pp. 1-38, 2011.


"Biomass Pyrolysis and Gasification and Their Applications" - A poster by Witold Kwapinski detailing the Carbolea research areas of pyrolysis and gasification.



Current Research Projects

Research Projects - the list

A laboratory scale pyrolysis/gasification unit has been designed and built. This facility will shortly be operational at Carbolea and will be used to process a variety of residues, wastes and dedictaed agricultural crops..

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



A major project is underway 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.





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.




Recent News, Articles

May 23, 2012

Paper Published on Metal Ions Adsorption on Biochar

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

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

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

May 18, 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.

Mar 1, 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. Characterisation of the products from pyrolysis of residues after acid hydrolysis of Miscanthus, Bioresource Technology, 108, 258-263, 2012

May 28, 2010

Carbolea's Biochar Research Accepted for Publication

A paper by members of Carbolea entitled “Biochar from Biomass and Waste” has been published in the new journal Waste and Biomass Valorization. This paper examines the roles that soil amendments with biochar can have on soil fertility, carbon sequestration, on the emissions of greenhouse gases from soil, on fertilizer requirements, and on waste management. Results from Carbolea research are presented, showing that biochars produced under different conditions can have varying effects in plant growth. This further strengthens the need for a biochar classification system. The paper can be downloaded http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12649-010-9024-8.

On June 2012 the manuscript is the third most often downloaded paper from the Journal website






Oct 6, 2009

Project Update: Bio-Oil Production and Upgrading

The webpage detailing our work on the produciton 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.



Oct 6, 2009

Research Areas Update: Pyrolysis and Gasification

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


Oct 5, 2009

Project Update:Biochar Production, Analysis and Plant Growth Trials

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



Here are some material by Witold that can be downloaded. For more downloads please visit the appropriate webpage.


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