Biofuel Production from Biomass Waste and Residues

by Hannah Oscar Kargbo

PhD in Chemical Engineering, Newcastle University, Year 1
Email: H.O.Kargbo2@newcastle.ac.uk
Supervisors

Dr Anh Phan (Email: anh.phan@newcastle.ac.uk)

Dr Kok Siew Ng (Email: kok.ng@eng.ox.ac.uk)

Summary of my research

The proposed PhD research project aims to study the utilisation of biomass waste resources available in Sierra Leone for sustainable, green and competitive biofuel production for the transportation sector. This will entail: analysing the treatment, valorisation and conversion of biomass wastes/residue, production of transportation fuel from cassava peels, sugar cane bagasse and elephant grass (or similar feedstock) via gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and hydrothermal carbonisation and a Life Cycle Assessment of the overall process. In other to evaluate the technical performance, operational requirements, energy efficiency and economic feasibility/profitability of the process on an industrial scale. Biofuel samples produced experimentally will be characterised both chemically and in engine performance, particularly gas emissions and fuel consumption.

What motivates you to carry out this research?

Sierra Leone has vast potential sources of biomass derived renewable energy, such as agricultural wastes (cassava peels, sugar cane bagasse, elephant grass etc.), which remain virtually unexploited and the energy demand in the country far exceeds supply. The grand majority of the energy production and usage in the country is in individual households, where biomass in the form of charcoal and fuel wood is used for cooking purposes which releases particulates. Utilising the abundant waste materials in the country into energy production would both address the energy crisis in the country and the current waste management problems (uncontrolled burning/open burning in dumpsites) and would subsequently improve air quality.