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Biomass combustion: a new UET Lahore-Sotacarbo publication

Biomass. By © R.Möhler, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The path towards a sustainable and decarbonized energy scenario requires a quick development and diffusion of low carbon energy technology, mostly based on renewable sources. Biomass is expected to play a key role in this game since its use is widely programmable (unlike sun and wind) and it can be used to replace fossil fuels for several applications, with a significant contribution on carbon dioxide emissions.

One of the key problems in replacing fossil fuels (coal in particular) with biomass is related to the different combustion behaviours which involve different performance in combustion process. A wide knowledge of flame propagation allows to optimise process performance.

The experimental analysis of these phenomena is the result of joint research collaboration with Energy Environment and Sustainability Research (EESR) group led by Dr. Muhammad Farooq (Professor at UET Lahore, Pakistan). This involves the great participation of Sotacarbo (within a memorandum of understanding signed with UET Lahore in September 2018), University of Leeds (United Kingdom), University of Malaya (Malaysia) and four other collaborators of EESR research group from Pakistani universities (Bahauddin Zakariya University, University of Sargodha, Government College University and University of Management and Technology).

The results, recently published in the international Journal “Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery” (edited by Springer), are very promising. “We have studied the properties of different kinds of biomass and assessed their fire/explosion risk in comparison with a commercial coal”, Muhammad Azam Saeed (professor at UET Lahore and principal investigator of this project) said. “It is generally known that the finer the size of biomass, the more reactive it is. But this study allowed to quantify flame propagation behaviour and to obtain reliable experimental data for process optimization”.

“This study is another outcome of a very fruitful collaboration with UET Lahore, covering different fields of low carbon energy technology and a joint involvement on international events such as the Sotacarbo Summer School”, Alberto Pettinau (Sotacarbo’s Scientific Director) said.

‘’We aimed to strengthen our research for the sustainable environment to save the planet through extended collaborative network of EESR group, prof. Farooq said’’. The size dependency on the flame propagation and burning characteristics of pulverized biomass is examined compared to coals by using an advanced experimental equipment to perform flame speed and explosion tests. APettinau