Flash Carbonization™ technology


For almost forty years the Renewable Resources Research Laboratory (R3Lab) has been a test-bed for the development of innovative processes that convert 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.  During its first three decades the R3Lab was active in the fields of biomass pyrolysis, chemical reactions and biomass gasification in supercritical water, pretreatments related to ethanol production by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass, synthesis of activated carbons, and carbon fuel cells.  Research during the past decade emphasized the efficient carbonization of biomass via the UH-patented Flash-CarbonizationTM process, and the development of a low-temperature carbon fuel cell.  Radical improvements and modeling of the Flash-Carbonization™ process are the current focus of the R3Lab’s research activities. 

For more information, contact Michael J. Antal, Jr.

Staff | Equipment | Publications                                    

Michael J. Antal, Jr.

Coral Industries Professor of Renewable Energy Resources
Michael J.
Antal, Jr.

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

(808) 956-7267
(808) 956-2336


SINTEF (Norway), SRI International, Pacific Carbon and Graphite, Center for Coal Utilization Japan, NEU (Austria), ConAgra, The World Bank, NEA (Sweden), CESP (Brazil), President's Council on Environmental Quality, Office of Technology Assessment, Exxon Research and Engineering Co., Aerospace Corporation, International Harvester.


Thermodynamics, Applied Thermodynamics, Availability Analysis, Chemical and Phase Equilibria, Chemical Kinetics, Chemical Reactor Design and Analysis, Solar Thermal Engineering, Renewable Energy Engineering: Biomass, Energy Alternatives, Complex Variables. 


Energy and Fuels, 2004-2007; Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 1993-1995; Journal of Analytic and Applied Pyrolysis, 1984-1992.


In 2003, my citation record entered the top 1% of total citations in Engineering.

University of Hawaii Information: 

Coral Industries Chair; Distinguished Professor of Renewable Energy Resources; Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI)

Acting Director, HNEI, Jan. 1998 - Apr. 1998

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, 1986-

Associate Professor, 1982-1986

Other Professional: 

Research Associate, Department of Chemistry, University of Waikato, New Zealand, 2008-

Visiting Research Professor, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, 1996-1998

Visting Scholar in Applied Mathematics, Harvard University, 1990-1991

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, 1975-1982

Staff Member, Thermonuclear Weapons Physics Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1973-1975


Ph.D., Applied Mathematics, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1970-1973

M.S., Applied Physics Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1969-1970

A.B., Physics and Mathematics, Dartmouth College, 1965-1969 

Selected Publications: 

Diarra, A. Deenik, J., Uehara, G., Campbell, S., Sumiyoshi, Y., Antal, M.J. "Charcoal Ash and Volatile Matter Effects on Soil Properties and Plant Growth in an Acid Ultisol" Soil Science, 2011, 176, 336-345.

Wang, L., Trninic, M., Skreiberg, O., Gronli, M., Considine, R., Antal, M.J. "Is Elevated Pressure Required to Achieve a High Fixed-Carbon Yield of Charcoal from Biomass? 1. Round Robin Results for Three Different Corncob Materials."  Energy Fuels, 2011, 25, 3251-3265.

Manya, J.J., Kinoshita, C.K., Masutani, S.M., Antal, M.J. "Specific Heat Capacity of Pure Water at 4.0 MPa between 298.15 K and 465.65 K" Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2011, 50, 6470-6484.

Sarmah, A.K., Srinivasan, P., Smernik, R.J., Manley-Harris, M., Downie, A., van Zwieten, L., Antal, M.J. "Retention capacity of biochar amended New Zealand dairy farm soil for an estrogenic steroid hormone and its primary metabolite" Australian J. Soil Research, 2010, 48, 648-658.

Deenik, J. McClellan, A.T., Uehara, G., Campbell, S., Antal, M.J. "Charcoal Volatile Matter Content Influences Plant Growth and Soil Nitrogen Transformations" Soil Science Society of America Journal, 2010, 74, 1259-1270.

Manya, J.J., Antal, M.J. "Review of the Apparent Molar Heat Capacities of NaCl(aq), and NaOH(aq) and Their Representation Using the Pitzer Model at Temperatures from (298.15 to 493.15) K" J. Chem. Eng. Data, 2009, 54, 2158-2169.

Yoshida, T., Antal, M.J. "Sewage Sludge Carbonization for Terra Preta Applications" Energy Fuels 2009, 23, 5454-5459.

Yoshida, T., Turn, S., Yost, R., Antal, M.J. "Banagrass vs. Eucalyptus wood as feedstocks for metallurgical biocarbon production" Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2008, 47, 2442-2448.

Peterson, A.A., Vogel, F., Lachance, R.P., Froling, M., Antal, M.J., Tester, J. "Thermochemical biofuel production in hydrothermal media: A review of sub- and supercritical water technologies" Energy Environ. Sci.. 2008, 1, 32-65.

Antal, M. J.; Nihous, G. Thermodynamics of an Aqueous-Alkaline/Carbonate Carbon Fuel Cell Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2008, 47, 2442. 

Bourke, J.; Manley-Harris, M.; Fushimi, C.; Dowaki, K.; Nunoura, T.; Antal, M. J. Do all carbonized charcoals have the same chemical structure? A Model o the Chemical Structure of Carbonized Charcoal Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2007, 46, 5954.

Meszaros, E.; Varhegyi, G.; Jakab, E.; Bourke, J.; Manley-Harris, M.; and Nunoura, T.; Antal, M. J. Do all carbonized charcoals have the same chemical structure? Implications of TG-MS measurements. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2007, 46, 5943. 

Nunoura, T.; Dowaki, K.; Fushimi, C.; Allen, S.; Meszaros, E.; Antal, M. J. Performance of a First-Generation, Aqueous-Alkaline Biocarbon Fuel Cell. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2007, 46, 734.

Varhegyi, G.; Meszaros, E.; Bourke, J.; Jakab, E.; Antal, M. J. Combustion Kinetics of Corncob Charcoal and Partially Demineralized Corncob Charcoal in the Kinetic Regime. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2006, 45, 4962.

Wade, S.R., and Nunoura, T.; Antal, M. J. Studies of the Flash Carbonization Process. 2. Violent Ignition Behavior of Pressurized Packed Beds of Biomass: A Factorial Study. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2006, 45, 3512.

Nunoura, T.; Wade, S.R.; Bourke, J.; Antal, M. J. Studies of the Flash Carbonization Process. 1. Propagation of the Flaming Pyrolysis Reaction and Performance of a Catalytic Afterburner. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2006, 45, 585.

Matsumura, Y., Minowa, T., Potic, B., Kersten, S.R.A., Prins, W., van Swaaij, W.P.M., van de Beld, B., Elliott, D.C., Neuenschwander, G.G., Kruse, A., Antal, M.J. Biomass gasification in near- and supercritical water: Status and prospects. Biomass Bioenergy, 2005, 29, 269.

Antal, M. J.; Mochidzuki, K.; Paredes, L. S. Flash Carbonization of Biomass. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2003, 42, 3690.

Antal, M. J.; Gronli, M. G. The Art, Science, and Technology of Charcoal Production. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2003, 42, 1919.

Additional Publications: 
Michael J. Antal, Jr.


American Chemical Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Physical Society.

HNEI to explore use of Flash Carbonization™ technology to produce charcoal from Honolulu sewage sludge

Flash Carbonization™ tests of Honolulu’s sewage sludge are being sponsored at HNEI to help eliminate smoke emissions from the Flash Carbonization™ Demonstration Reactor, reduce CO emissions to satisfy regulations, and to produce sewage sludge charcoal for various market studies. Read more about Biocarbons (charcoal). Contact Michael Antal for more information.

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