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Special Issue "Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Tariq Al-Shemmeri

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences, Staffordshire University, Staffordshire ST4 2DE, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 0044 1785353335
Interests: renewable energy; combustion; biomass; heat exchangers and power generation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In many domestic and industrial processes, vast percentages of primary energy are produced by the combustion of fossil fuels. Apart from diminishing source of fossil fuels and the increasing risk of higher costs and energy security, the impact on the environment is worsening continually. Renewables are becoming very popular, but, at present, more expensive than fossil fuels, especially photovoltaic and hydropower. Biomass is one of the most established and common sources of fuel known to mankind, and has been in continuous use for domestic heating, and cooking over the years, especially in poorer communities. The use of biomass to produce electricity is interesting and is gaining ground. There are several ways of producing electricity from biomass. Steam turbines and gas turbines technology is well established but requires temperatures in excess of 250 °C to work effectively. The organic Rankine cycle (ORC), where low boiling point organic solutions can be used to tailor the appropriate solution is particularly successful for relatively low temperature heat sources, such as waste heat from coal, gas, and biomass burners. Other relatively recent technologies have become more visible, such as the Stirling engine and Thermo-Electric generators are particularly useful for small power production.

Indirect production of energy from Biomass relies on the production of transport fuel, such as ethanol or biodiesel.

Prof. Dr. Tariq Al-Shemmeri
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


Keywords

  • biomass
  • Stirling engines
  • thermoelectric generators
  • organic Rankine cycle
  • biomass gasifies
  • biodiesel

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Simplification of a Mechanistic Model of Biomass Combustion for On-Line Computations
Energies 2016, 9(9), 735; doi:10.3390/en9090735
Received: 15 May 2016 / Revised: 29 July 2016 / Accepted: 19 August 2016 / Published: 10 September 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5933 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing utilization of intermittent energy resources requires flexibility from energy boilers which can be achieved with advanced control methods employing dynamic process models. The performance of the model-based control methods depends on the ability of the underlying model to describe combustion phenomena under
[...] Read more.
Increasing utilization of intermittent energy resources requires flexibility from energy boilers which can be achieved with advanced control methods employing dynamic process models. The performance of the model-based control methods depends on the ability of the underlying model to describe combustion phenomena under varying power demand. This paper presents an approach to the simplification of a mechanistic model developed for combustion phenomena investigation. The aim of the approach is to simplify the dynamic model of biomass combustion for applications requiring fast computational times while retaining the ability of the model to describe the underlying combustion phenomena. The approach for that comprises three phases. In the first phase, the main mechanisms of heat and mass transfer and limiting factors of the reactions are identified in each zone. In the second phase, each of the partial differential equations from the full scale model are reduced to a number of ordinary differential equations (ODEs) defining the overall balances of the zones. In the last phase, mathematical equations are formulated based on the mass and energy balances formed in the previous step. The simplified model for online computations was successfully built and validated against industrial data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology)
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Open AccessArticle Ethanol Production from Sweet Sorghum Juice at High Temperatures Using a Newly Isolated Thermotolerant Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae DBKKU Y-53
Energies 2016, 9(4), 253; doi:10.3390/en9040253
Received: 21 February 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1338 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ethanol production at elevated temperatures requires high potential thermotolerant ethanol-producing yeast. In this study, nine isolates of thermotolerant yeasts capable of growth and ethanol production at high temperatures were successfully isolated. Among these isolates, the newly isolated thermotolerant yeast strain, which was designated
[...] Read more.
Ethanol production at elevated temperatures requires high potential thermotolerant ethanol-producing yeast. In this study, nine isolates of thermotolerant yeasts capable of growth and ethanol production at high temperatures were successfully isolated. Among these isolates, the newly isolated thermotolerant yeast strain, which was designated as Saccharomyces cerevisiae DBKKU Y-53, exhibited great potential for ethanol production from sweet sorghum juice (SSJ) at high temperatures. The maximum ethanol concentrations produced by this newly isolated thermotolerant yeast at 37 °C and 40 °C under the optimum cultural condition were 106.82 g·L−1 and 85.01 g·L−1, respectively, which are greater than values reported in the literatures. It should be noted from this study with SSJ at a sugar concentration of 250 g·L−1 and an initial pH of 5.5 without nitrogen supplementation can be used directly as substrate for ethanol production at high temperatures by thermotolerant yeast S. cerevisiae DBKKU Y-53. Gene expression analysis using real-time RT-PCR clearly indicated that growth and ethanol fermentation activities of the thermotolerant yeast S. cerevisiae DBKKU Y-53 at a high temperature (40 °C) were not only restricted to the expression of genes involved in the heat-shock response, but also to those genes involved in ATP production, trehalose and glycogen metabolism, and protein degradation processes were also involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology)
Open AccessArticle Catalytic Intermediate Pyrolysis of Napier Grass in a Fixed Bed Reactor with ZSM-5, HZSM-5 and Zinc-Exchanged Zeolite-A as the Catalyst
Energies 2016, 9(4), 246; doi:10.3390/en9040246
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (6167 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The environmental impact from the use of fossil fuel cum depletion of the known fossil oil reserves has led to increasing interest in liquid biofuels made from renewable biomass. This study presents the first experimental report on the catalytic pyrolysis of Napier grass,
[...] Read more.
The environmental impact from the use of fossil fuel cum depletion of the known fossil oil reserves has led to increasing interest in liquid biofuels made from renewable biomass. This study presents the first experimental report on the catalytic pyrolysis of Napier grass, an underutilized biomass source, using ZSM-5, 0.3HZSM-5 and zinc exchanged zeolite-A catalyst. Pyrolysis was conducted in fixed bed reactor at 600 °C, 30 °C/min and 7 L/min nitrogen flow rate. The effect of catalyst-biomass ratio was evaluated with respect to pyrolysis oil yield and composition. Increasing the catalyst loading from 0.5 to 1.0 wt % showed no significant decrease in the bio-oil yield, particularly, the organic phase and thereafter decreased at catalyst loadings of 2.0 and 3.0 wt %. Standard analytical methods were used to establish the composition of the pyrolysis oil, which was made up of various aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatics and other valuable chemicals and varied greatly with the surface acidity and pore characteristics of the individual catalysts. This study has demonstrated that pyrolysis oil with high fuel quality and value added chemicals can be produced from pyrolysis of Napier grass over acidic zeolite based catalysts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology)
Open AccessArticle Comparing the Bio-Hydrogen Production Potential of Pretreated Rice Straw Co-Digested with Seeded Sludge Using an Anaerobic Bioreactor under Mesophilic Thermophilic Conditions
Energies 2016, 9(3), 198; doi:10.3390/en9030198
Received: 19 January 2016 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 8 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (3293 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Three common pretreatments (mechanical, steam explosion and chemical) used to enhance the biodegradability of rice straw were compared on the basis of bio-hydrogen production potential while co-digesting rice straw with sludge under mesophilic (37 °C) and thermophilic (55 °C) temperatures. The results showed
[...] Read more.
Three common pretreatments (mechanical, steam explosion and chemical) used to enhance the biodegradability of rice straw were compared on the basis of bio-hydrogen production potential while co-digesting rice straw with sludge under mesophilic (37 °C) and thermophilic (55 °C) temperatures. The results showed that the solid state NaOH pretreatment returned the highest experimental reduction of LCH (lignin, cellulose and hemi-cellulose) content and bio-hydrogen production from rice straw. The increase in incubation temperature from 37 °C to 55 °C increased the bio-hydrogen yield, and the highest experimental yield of 60.6 mL/g VSremoved was obtained under chemical pretreatment at 55 °C. The time required for maximum bio-hydrogen production was found on the basis of kinetic parameters as 36 h–47 h of incubation, which can be used as a hydraulic retention time for continuous bio-hydrogen production from rice straw. The optimum pH range of bio-hydrogen production was observed to be 6.7 ± 0.1–5.8 ± 0.1 and 7.1 ± 0.1–5.8 ± 0.1 under mesophilic and thermophilic conditions, respectively. The increase in temperature was found useful for controlling the volatile fatty acids (VFA) under mechanical and steam explosion pretreatments. The comparison of pretreatment methods under the same set of experimental conditions in the present study provided a baseline for future research in order to select an appropriate pretreatment method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology)
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Open AccessArticle Computational Fluid Dynamic Analysis of Co-Firing of Palm Kernel Shell and Coal
Energies 2016, 9(3), 137; doi:10.3390/en9030137
Received: 22 December 2015 / Revised: 1 February 2016 / Accepted: 18 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (6283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increasing global demand for palm oil and its products has led to a significant growth in palm plantations and palm oil production. Unfortunately, these bring serious environmental problems, largely because of the large amounts of waste material produced, including palm kernel shell
[...] Read more.
The increasing global demand for palm oil and its products has led to a significant growth in palm plantations and palm oil production. Unfortunately, these bring serious environmental problems, largely because of the large amounts of waste material produced, including palm kernel shell (PKS). In this study, we used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to investigate the PKS co-firing of a 300 MWe pulverized coal-fired power plant in terms of thermal behavior of the plant and the CO2, CO, O2, NOx, and SOx produced. Five different PKS mass fractions were evaluated: 0%, 10%, 15%, 25%, and 50%. The results suggest that PKS co-firing is favorable in terms of both thermal behavior and exhaust gas emissions. A PKS mass fraction of 25% showed the best combustion characteristics in terms of temperature and the production of CO2, CO, and SOx. However, relatively large amounts of thermal NOx were produced by high temperature oxidation. Considering all these factors, PKS mass fractions of 10%–15% emerged as the most appropriate co-firing condition. The PKS supply capacity of the palm mills surrounding the power plants is a further parameter to be considered when setting the fuel mix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology)
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Open AccessArticle The Concept, Design and Performance of a Novel Rotary Kiln Type Air-Staged Biomass Gasifier
Energies 2016, 9(2), 67; doi:10.3390/en9020067
Received: 5 November 2015 / Revised: 28 December 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 22 January 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4595 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tar formation is the main bottleneck for biomass gasification technology. A novel rotary kiln type biomass gasification process was proposed. The concept design was based on air staging and process separation. This concept was demonstrated on a pilot scale rotary kiln reactor under
[...] Read more.
Tar formation is the main bottleneck for biomass gasification technology. A novel rotary kiln type biomass gasification process was proposed. The concept design was based on air staging and process separation. This concept was demonstrated on a pilot scale rotary kiln reactor under ambient pressure and autothermic conditions. The pilot scale gasifier was divided into three different reaction regions, which were oxidative degradation, partial oxidation and char gasification. A series of tests was conducted to investigate the effect of key parameters. The results indicate that under optimum operating conditions, a fuel gas with high heat value of about 5500 kJ/Nm3 and gas production rate of 2.32 Nm3/kg could be produced. Tar concentration in the fuel gas could be reduced to 108 mg/Nm3 (at the gasifier outlet) and 38 mg/Nm3 (after gas conditioning). The cold gas efficiency and carbon conversion rate reached 75% and 78%, respectively. The performance of this gasification system shows considerable potential for implementation in distributed electricity and heat supply projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology)
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Open AccessArticle Bioenergy and Food Supply: A Spatial-Agent Dynamic Model of Agricultural Land Use for Jiangsu Province in China
Energies 2015, 8(11), 13284-13307; doi:10.3390/en81112369
Received: 31 July 2015 / Revised: 23 October 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 24 November 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper we develop an agent-based model to explore a feasible way of simultaneously providing sufficient food and bioenergy feedstocks in China. Concerns over the competition for agricultural land resources between food and bioenergy supply hinder the further development of bioenergy, especially
[...] Read more.
In this paper we develop an agent-based model to explore a feasible way of simultaneously providing sufficient food and bioenergy feedstocks in China. Concerns over the competition for agricultural land resources between food and bioenergy supply hinder the further development of bioenergy, especially in China, the country that needs to feed the world’s largest population. Prior research has suggested the introduction of energy crops and reviewed the resulting agricultural land use change in China. However, there is a lack of quantitative studies which estimate the value, contribution, and impact of bioenergy for specific conditions at the county level and provide adequate information to guide local practices. To fill this gap, we choose the Jiangsu Province in China as a case study, build up a spatial-agent dynamic model of agricultural land use, and perform a sensitivity analysis for important parameters. The simulation results show that straw from conventional crops generally dominates Jiangsu’s biomass supply with a contribution above 85%. The sensitivity analyses reveal severe consequences of bioenergy targets for local land use. For Jiangsu Province, reclaimed mudflats, an alternative to arable lands for energy crop plantation, help to secure the local biomass supply and to alleviate the land use conflict between food and biomass production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Biohydrogen Production from Lignocellulosic Biomass: Technology and Sustainability
Energies 2015, 8(11), 13062-13080; doi:10.3390/en81112357
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 4 November 2015 / Accepted: 10 November 2015 / Published: 17 November 2015
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (978 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Among the various renewable energy sources, biohydrogen is gaining a lot of traction as it has very high efficiency of conversion to usable power with less pollutant generation. The various technologies available for the production of biohydrogen from lignocellulosic biomass such as direct
[...] Read more.
Among the various renewable energy sources, biohydrogen is gaining a lot of traction as it has very high efficiency of conversion to usable power with less pollutant generation. The various technologies available for the production of biohydrogen from lignocellulosic biomass such as direct biophotolysis, indirect biophotolysis, photo, and dark fermentations have some drawbacks (e.g., low yield and slower production rate, etc.), which limits their practical application. Among these, metabolic engineering is presently the most promising for the production of biohydrogen as it overcomes most of the limitations in other technologies. Microbial electrolysis is another recent technology that is progressing very rapidly. However, it is the dark fermentation approach, followed by photo fermentation, which seem closer to commercialization. Biohydrogen production from lignocellulosic biomass is particularly suitable for relatively small and decentralized systems and it can be considered as an important sustainable and renewable energy source. The comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of biohydrogen production from lignocellulosic biomass and its comparison with other biofuels can be a tool for policy decisions. In this paper, we discuss the various possible approaches for producing biohydrogen from lignocellulosic biomass which is an globally available abundant resource. The main technological challenges are discussed in detail, followed by potential solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biomass for Energy Technology)
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