Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass

Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass research group at the Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ghent University.

Research Mission

The mission of the Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass research group is the development and optimisation of thermochemical conversion technologies to renewable fuels, chemicals and energy from biomass. Regarding the thermochemical conversion technologies, the research is devoted to fast pyrolysis and catalytic fast pyrolysis for the production of liquid biofuels and chemical intermediates, to slow pyrolysis for the production of biochar and to torrefaction as a biomass pretreatment unit operation. Other technologies of interest include hydrothermal conversion technologies, torrefaction, gasification and post-conversion treatment of bio-oil, which includes upgrading and fractionation. The Department of Green Chemistry and Technology is also part of the UGent MRP (multidisciplinary research platform) ‘Biotechnology for a sustainable economy’ and plays a key role in studying production technologies of biochar out of agricultural and biorefinery residues. Biochar is the solid product from biomass pyrolysis and is intended to be used as a soil amendment. Biochar is a carbon rich material that is resistant to biological decay, unlike the plant biomass from which it is produced. Consequently, biochar has the potential to store carbon which has been removed as CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and prevents the rapid release of CO2 which would originate by biological decay if the biomass would be kept untreated by means of thermochemical conversion (i.e. pyrolysis).