biomass

Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass

Biomass feedstocks offer a number of distinct advantages over coal. Biomass typically possesses a higher hydrogen content and larger volatile component, produces a more reactive char upon devolatilization, and exhibits lower ash and sulfur contents. Biomass, when grown and converted in a closed-loop feedstock production scheme, generates no net carbon dioxide emissions, thereby claiming a neutral position in the build-up of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Closed-loop systems offer additional benefits by providing more markets for agricultural producers and creating demand for services and infrastructure.

The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute's (HNEI's) program in biomass energy conversion includes experimental and modeling thrusts, including studies of biomass pretreatment, conversion processes, and downstream processing. Biomass pretreatment focuses on improving biomass material characteristics to facilitate use in target conversion processes. An example of this would be pretreating high-alkali-content, herbaceous plant species to remove inorganic elements and improve fuel characteristics for thermochemical applications. Studies of thermochemical conversion processes are part of the biomass energy program with emphases on combustion and gasification.

An instrumented, bench-scale, bubbling fluidized bed gasifier facility has been used to test numerous biomass materials and determine operating limits, fuel behavior, producer gas quality, and fuel element inventories. Evaluation of downstream gas processing options is also part of the biomass energy conversion program and has included unit technologies, such as filtration, catalytic conversion, and solid sorbent purification, for selective removal or conversion of producer gas components. In addition to these experimental activities, HNEI conducts modeling to broaden the application of experimental results.

Biomass Treatment

Biomass treatment to improve fuel characteristics is an often neglected activity in commercial, thermochemical, biomass utilization systems. HNEI researchers have performed treatment studies on banagrass and high-fiber cane using low-cost water treatment methods. These methods result in fuels with lower potassium, chlorine, oxygen, and ash content, greater heating value, and higher ash deformation temperatures. HNEI is beginning a new study of cost-effective methods to treat sugar cane trash for use in thermochemical conversion processes. Sugar cane trash includes dead leaves that have accumulated in the field during the cane's growing period and green leaves and tops attached to the plant at harvest time. The most prevalent disposal practice for sugar cane trash is to open burn the field, either before or after harvest. Developing treatment techniques for trash will aid in turning a disposal problem into a biomass resource.

Contact: Scott Q. Turn

Co-fired Coal and Biomass

The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute recently completed a cooperative project with the University of California-Davis and Sandia National Laboratories on testing coal and biomass blends for power generation. The work was performed for the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S) on Maui under a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Research involved (a) the pilot-scale testing of a matrix of coal and biomass blends in the Multi-Fuel Combustor Facility at Sandia and (b) full-scale testing of a limited number of such blends in an HC&S boiler unit. These tests were conducted to investigate the combustion and fouling characteristics of the fuel blends. Members of the project team designed, fabricated, installed, and operated an alkali sampling system required for extractive sampling and a probe used to collect in situ deposit samples during the full-scale boiler tests. Test results are summarized in a report that is available by contacting a project team member.

Contact: Scott Q. Turn

UH students harvest banagrass at the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center's substation in Kunia, Oahu. This fast-growing, herbaceous plant has been considered as a dedicated feedstock for biomass energy. Banagrass grows to maturity in only seven months, making it ideal for an energy crop.

The banagrass plot, with Honolulu and Diamond Head in the background.

A technician grinds the banagrass in preparation for drying and eventual processing in a gasifier.

Hydrogen Production from Biomass Gasification

Thermochemical gasification is a process operated at elevated temperature that converts a solid fuel into a gaseous one, while maximizing the chemical energy content of the product gas. The fuel gas can be combusted for heat or power generation, or synthesized into specific chemical products. One of the fuel gas components is hydrogen, and previous work has shown that the hydrogen yield from biomass gasification is most sensitive to the reactor temperature and equivalence ratio, both of which depend upon the relative amounts of fuel and oxygen used in the reactor. The hydrogen content of producer gas can be increased by steam reforming methane and higher hydrocarbon species present from the gasification process. If used in fuel cells, trace contaminants must also be removed from the gas stream. HNEI is beginning an experimental program focused on gas upgrading and purification for fuel cell applications.

Contact: Scott Q. Turn


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Scott Q. Turn

Researcher
Scott Q.
Turn
12/11/2012 - 13:47
Address: 

Hawaii Natural Energy Institute                                                                                                                                               School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology                                                                                                               University of Hawaii at Manoa

Phone: 
(808) 956-2346
Fax: 
(808) 956-2336
Email: 
University of Hawaii Information: 
Present Position
Researcher, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Graduate Faculty, Department of Bioengineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Graduate Faculty, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Graduate Faculty, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa
 
Associate Researcher, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii, 2001 to 2009
Assistant Researcher, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii, 1995-2001
Assistant Researcher (50% FTE), Biosystems Engineering Department, University of Hawaii, 1999-2000
Lecturer, Department of Biosystems Engineering, University of Hawaii, 1997
Research Associate, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii, 1994-1995.
Other Professional: 
Graduate Research Assistant/Post-Graduate Researcher/Teaching Assistant, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California, 1986-1994
Project Associate, Department of Agricultural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1986
Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Hawaii, 1983-1985.
Education: 
Ph.D., Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, 1994.
M.S., Agricultural Engineering, University of Hawaii, 1985.
B.S., Agricultural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1983.
Selected Publications: 
Cui, H., S.Q. Turn, V. Keffer, D. Evans, T. Tran, and M. Foley. 2010. Contaminant estimates and removal in product gas from biomass steam gasification. Energy & Fuels. 24 pp. 1222-1233.
 
Reese, M.A., S.Q. Turn, and H. Cui. 2010. Kinetic modeling of high pressure autothermal reforming. Journal of Power Sources. 195(2) pp. 553-558.
 
Cui, H., and S.Q. Turn. 2009. Adsorption/desorption of dimethylsulfide on activated carbon modified with iron chloride. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental. 88(1) pp. 25-31. 
 
Keffer, V.I., S.Q. Turn, C.M. Kinoshita, and D.E. Evans. 2009. Ethanol technical potentials in Hawaii based on sugarcane, banagrass, Eucalyptus, and Leucaena. Biomass and Bioenergy. 33 pp. 247-254.
 
Reese, M., S.Q. Turn, and H. Cui. 2009. High pressure autothermal reforming in low oxygen environments. Journal of Power Sources. 187(2) pp. 544-554.
 
Cui, H., S.Q. Turn, and M.A. Reese. 2009. Removal of sulfur compounds from utility pipelined synthetic natural gas using modified activated carbons. Catalysis Today. 139(4) pp. 274-279.
 
Yoshida, T., S.Q. Turn, R.S. Yost, and M.J. Antal, Jr. 2008. Banagrass vs. Eucalyptus wood as feedstocks for metallurgical biocarbon production. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 47(24) pp. 9882-9888.
 
Okazaki, W., S.Q. Turn, and P. Flachsbart. 2008. Characterization of food waste generators: A Hawaii case study. Waste Management. 28, pp. 2483-2494..
 
Cui, H., S.Q. Turn, and M.A. Reese. 2008. Adsorptive removal of tetrahydrothiophene (THT) from synthetic natural gas on modified activated carbons. Energy & Fuels. 22(4) pp. 2550-2558.
 
Turn, S.Q. 2007. Chemical equilibrium prediction of K, Na, and Cl concentration in the product gas from biomass gasification. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 46, pp. 8928-8937.
 
Douette, A., S.Q. Turn, W. Wang, and V. Keffer. 2007. An experimental investigation of hydrogen production from glycerin reforming. Energy & Fuels. 21, pp. 3499-3504.
 
Turn, S.Q., V. Keffer, C.M. Kinoshita, and L.A. Jakeway. 2007. Efficiency evaluation of sugar factory steam generating units. International Sugar Journal. 109(1304), pp. 490-498.
 
Wang, W., S.Q. Turn, V. Keffer, and A. Douette. 2007. Study of process data in autothermal reforming of LPG using multivariate data analysis. Chemical Engineering Journal. 129, pp. 11-19.
 
Turn, S.Q. 2004. Prediction of potassium, sodium, and chlorine concentrations in product gas from biomass gasification. Presented at the 2nd World Conference and Technological Exhibition on Biomass for Energy, Industry, and Climate Protection. Rome, Italy. May 10-14, 2004.

Wang, W., S.Q. Turn, V.I. Keffer, and A. Douette. 2004. Parametric study of autothermal reforming of LPG. Presented at the American Chemical Society 227th National Meeting & Exposition. Anaheim, CA. March 28 – April 1, 2004.

Turn, S.Q., C.M. Kinoshita, L.A. Jakeway, B.M. Jenkins, L.L. Baxter, B.C. Wu, L.G. Blevins. 2003. Fuel characteristics of processed, high-fiber, sugar cane. Fuel Processing Technology. 81(1), pp. 35-55.
 
Kinoshita, C.M. and S.Q. Turn. 2003. Production of hydrogen from bio-oil using CaO and CO2 sorbent. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 28(10), pp. 1065-1071.
 
Turn, S.Q., R.L. Bain, and C.M. Kinoshita. 2002. Biomass gasification for combined heat and power in the cane sugar industry. International Sugar Journal. 104(1242), pp. 268-273.

Turn, S.Q., V.I. Keffer, and M. Staackmann. 2002. Analysis of Hawaii biomass energy resources for distributed energy applications. Final Report to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, State of Hawaii. Subcontract #LOA-02-185. Hawaii Natural Energy Institute.

Turn, S.Q., V.I. Keffer, and M. Staackmann. 2002. Biomass and bioenergy resource assessment, State of Hawaii. Final Report to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, State of Hawaii. Subcontract #LOA-02-159. Hawaii Natural Energy Institute.

Pfaff, D., B.M. Jenkins, and S.Q. Turn. 2001. Elemental gas-particle partitioning in fluidized bed combustion and gasification of a biomass fuel. In Bridgewater, A.V. (ed.). Progress in Thermochemical Biomass Conversion, Blackwell Science, Oxford, pp. 713-729.
 
Turn, S.Q., C.M. Kinoshita, D.M. Ishimura, J. Zhou, T.T. Hiraki, and S.M Masutani. 2001. An experimental investigation of alkali removal from biomass producer gas using a fixed bed of solid sorbent. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 40(8); pp. 1960-1967.
 
Zhou, J., S.M. Masutani, D.M. Ishimura, S.Q. Turn, and C.M. Kinoshita. 2000. Release of fuel-bound nitrogen during biomass gasification. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 39(3); pp. 626-634.
 
Dayton, D.C., B.M. Jenkins, S.Q. Turn, R.R. Bakker, R.B. Williams, D. Belle-Oudry, and L.M. Hill. 1999. Release of inorganic constituents from leached biomass during thermal conversion. Energy and Fuel 13(4), pp. 860-870.
 
Turn, S.Q. 1999. Biomass integrated gasifier combined cycle technology: Application in the cane sugar industry, Part III, International Sugar Journal 101(1207), pp. 367-374.
 
Turn, S.Q. 1999. Biomass integrated gasifier combined cycle technology: Application in the cane sugar industry, Part II, International Sugar Journal. 101(1206), pp. 316-322.
 
Turn, S.Q. 1999. Biomass integrated gasifier combined cycle technology: Application in the cane sugar industry, Part I, International Sugar Journal. 101(1205), pp. 267-272.
 
Ishimura, D.M., C.M. Kinoshita, S.M. Masutani, and S.Q. Turn. 1999. Cycle analyses of 5 and 20 MWe biomass gasifier-based electric power stations in Hawaii. Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power. 121(1), pp. 25-30.
 
Turn, S.Q., C.M. Kinoshita, D.M. Ishimura, J. Zhou, T.T. Hiraki, and S.M Masutani. 1998. A review of sorbent materials for fixed bed alkali getter systems in biomass gasifier combined cycle power generation applications. Journal of the Institute of Energy. 71, pp. 163-177.
 
Turn, S.Q., C.M. Kinoshita, Z. Zhang, D.M. Ishimura, and J. Zhou. 1998. An experimental investigation of hydrogen production from biomass gasification. International Journal of Hydrogen Research, 23(8), pp. 641-648.
 
Turn, S.Q., C.M. Kinoshita, W.E. Kaar, and D.M. Ishimura. 1998. Measurement of gas phase carbon in steam explosion of biomass. Bioresource Technology. 64(1), pp.71-75.
 
Turn, S.Q., C.M. Kinoshita, D.M. Ishimura, and J. Zhou. 1998. The fate of inorganic constituents of biomass in fluidized bed gasification. Fuel . 77(3), pp 135-146.
 
Kinoshita, C.M., S.Q. Turn, R.P. Overend and R.L. Bain. 1997. Power generation potential of biomass gasification systems. Journal of Energy Engineering, 123(3), 88-99.
 
Turn, S.Q., C.M. Kinoshita, and D.M. Ishimura. 1997 Removal of inorganic constituents of biomass feedstocks by mechanical dewatering and leaching. Biomass and Bioenergy. 12(4), pp. 241-252.
 
Turn, S.Q., B.M. Jenkins, J.C. Chow, L.C. Pritchett, D. Campbell, T. Cahill and S.A. Whalen. 1997. Elemental characterization of particulate matter emitted from biomass burning: wind tunnel derived source profiles for herbaceous and wood fuels. Journal of Geophysical Research, Atmospheres. 102(D3):3683-3699.
 
Additional Publications: 
Bioenergy Analysis
Other: 
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
American Chemical Society
American Society of Agricultural Engineering
Sigma Xi
 
 
RECENT REPORTS
  • "Biomass and Bioenergy Resource Assessment, State of Hawaii"
    click here to go to the link.
  • "Analysis of Hawaii Biomass Energy Resources for Distributed Energy Applications"
    click here to go to the link.
  • "Potential for Ethanol Production in Hawaii"
    click here to go to the link.
  • "Physicochemical Analysis of Selected Biomass Materials in Hawaii"
    click here to go to the link.
  • "Identification and Assessment of Food Waste Generators in Hawaii"
    click here to go to the link.
  • "Analysis of Land Suitable for Algae Production, State of Hawaii"
    click here to go to the link.
  • "Hawaii Bioenergy Master Plan Project: Final Report"
    click here to go to the link.

 


Biomass (overview)

Biomass is the oldest and most versatile renewable fuel. It has added benefits, particularly for Hawaii, because farm-grown energy crops can create new agri-businesses, reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, serve as alternatives to more expensive renewable energy resources, and be cleaner because of new burning and cleaning techniques.

HNEI's previous work included assessing the potential of various crops, evaluating various biomass-to-energy technologies, identifying high-value co-products, and developing technologies to produce solid, liquid and gaseous fuels and chemicals from biomass.

For Hawaii, there is specific interest in liquid biofuels to displace imported petroleum products for both transportation and power generation, along with disposal of waste products in an efficient and potentially energy neutral or beneficial manner.  HNEI’s specific areas of biofuel development span the value chain and include the following:

Biocarbons

The Renewable Resources Research Laboratory (R3Lab) is a test-bed for the development of innovative processes for the conversion of biomass into fuels, high-value chemicals, and other products.  A consistent theme of the lab's research throughout its history has been the search for new uses for Hawaii's abundant agricultural crops and by-products.  Recently, the R3Lab's research has focused on the efficient carbonization of biomass.  Biocarbons are a key ingredient in the production of silicon, and are also used to clean water and cook food.  As a substitute of coal in coal-fired powerplants, biocarbons greatly reduce harmful emissions of CO2, SOx, and heavy metals. 

Gasification

HNEI's program in biomass energy conversion includes pretreatment, conversion processes, and downstream processing. Studies of thermochemical conversion processes are part of the program with emphases on combustion and gasification to produce liquid fuels from synthesis gas. In this process, biomass gasification generates a synthesis gas consisting primarily of H2, CO, and CO2.  HNEI is developing a new technology to produce liquid fuel from the syngas.  The technology includes: (a) catalytic conversion of CO and H2O into CO2 and H2; (b) capture and conversion of CO2 and H2 by an autotrophic bacterium into polyester; and (c) thermal degradation of polyester into a liquid fuel.  A liquid oil via methanolysis of polyester has been obtained in the laboratory.  This research will further improve the microbial conversion efficiency of gas to polyester, and reform the liquid fuel into hydrocarbons (CnH2n) as a “drop in” alternative fuel.

Resource Assessments

HNEI routinely performs assessments of renewable energy resources, both locally and internationally.  For Hawaii, biomass has long been targeted as a major renewable energy resource.

With funding from the State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism and the US Department of Energy, HNEI recently completed the Bioenergy Master Plan for the State of Hawaii.  This and other reports focused on biomass resources and related analyses are available at Resource Assessment Reports.

Bioprocessing

Bioprocessing offers the opportunity to use biomass from agricultural and other sources along with low-value waste streams to become a resource for bioenergy and high-value product development.  HNEI is investigating a variety of bioprocessing technology options in value chains focused on energy production and product development. 

Recent R&D

A wide variety of research is underway in the Biomass and Fuels Processing Laboratory, including activities in biomass resource assessment, thermochemical conversion of biomass, evaluation of energy conversion and utilization processes, and reforming of transition fuels for the hydrogen economy. In addition, HNEI researchers led the preparation of the Hawaii Bioenergy Master Plan.

 


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