1:00pm - 1:20pm
Assessing the Potential to Generate Electricity from Agricultural Residue Biomass in Bolivia
University of Alberta, Canada
Although the transition rate towards replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies is increasing worldwide, utilizing renewable resources and deployment of appropriate technologies are still challenges yet to be addressed in developing countries. Biomass feedstock in Bolivia, as a renewable resource of energy, is receiving increased attention not only to increase the electricity access, but also to ensure a sustainable and secure energy supply for future generations. The research objectives are to estimate the residue biomass available throughout Bolivia, a south American country, for energy generation purposes, as well as using GIS to locate the suitable site for corresponding biomass-based energy conversion facilities. There are no previous studies conducted to determine the type, quantity and distribution of biomass residues that can be sustainably collected to produce energy in Bolivia. This study quantifies the sustainable residue biomass available throughout the country using crop production statistical information. Such information is further modified applying correcting factors, including the residue leftover for animal feeding, soil conservation, etc., collected from previous studies in neighboring countries. Subsequently, the GIS technology is used to create maps regarding the spatial distribution of residues in order to identify larger residue producer municipalities. In addition, a location-allocation analysis, using ArcGIS software, is conducted to find the optimum location for biomass-based energy facilities considering environmental, social and economic factors. Based on this quantification, the major residues come from sugarcane, soybean, corn, rice, sorghum and sunflower. These results demonstrate the vast potential in country Bolivia to replace fossil fuels with residue biomass in producing energy.
1:20pm - 1:40pm
Conceptual Design and Feasibility Study of A Multi-Feed Integrated Biomass Production - Conversion System In The Prairies
University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Biomass is recognized as a potential source for sustainable production of fuels. Since early 1900s, biomass, mainly forestry residuals, had been used for small-scale production of biodiesel as motor fuel; however, because of the pronounced drop in the price of petroleum in recent decades and competitive economics, large-scale production of fuels from biomass has decreased. In addition, environmental issues, low reactor yield, and uncertainties in biomass feedstock have challenged process design engineers. Hence, extensive research has been reported to address these issues. Pyrolysis and gasification processes can commercially produce a wide range of fuels, chemical, solvents, and other valuable products from biomass. Scholars attempted to optimize various independent operating variables, find innovative approaches to increase the reaction yield, and develop novel product upgrading methods such as bio-oil upgrading; yet, limited studies were focused on implementation of these methods for a multi-feed integrated biomass production plant. This paper is focused on conceptual design and feasibility study of such systems. To this end, abundant sources of biomass in the Prairies (Saskatchewan) such as agricultural solid wastes, municipal solid wastes, forestry residuals, and industrial wastes were identified and characterized. Based on the comparison and analysis of existing commercial biomass gasification/pyrolysis systems in the world, a multi-feed integrated biomass conversion system in Saskatchewan was devised and simulated. Economics, net energy production, post-upgrading of products, and fallibility of predictions will be discussed.
1:40pm - 2:00pm
Microwave torrefaction of maple wood and energy grass
University of New Brunswick, Canada
Torrefaction process enhances the qualities of raw biomass, making it more suitable to replace coal. This technique applies heat to the raw biomass in an inert environment, inducing devolatilization reactions in the low temperature range of 200-300 ˚C that remove light volatile gases with less energy value. Conventionally, the required heat is supplied to the surface of sample via. direct or indirect heating methods. However, the use of microwave heating due to its volumetric, quick, and selective heating characteristics has increased significantly in recent years. This study thus aims to investigate a microwave torrefaction of maple wood and energy grass, abundantly available locally in New Brunswick, Canada. Experiments will be carried out at different microwave power levels and residence times. TGA will be then used to examine the changes in the combustion behavior of torrefied maple wood and energy grass. This work would help to lay out the information necessary for converting local materials for greener power generation.
2:00pm - 2:20pm
Water Footprint of Diluent and Hydrogen Production via Thermochemical Conversion of Algae
University of Alberta, Canada
Currently, there is an increasing body of research relative to the use of algae as biomass for the production of bio-oil and biodiesel, often through the processes of lipid extraction or esterification. More recently, thermochemical conversion as a method of converting algal biomass into desired products (including biofuel) has been considered as more viable option for algal utilization. This particular area of research seems promising because of the very low environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the entire life cycle of biofuel production based on algae.
However, other negative impacts can still provide challenges in the advancement of this market and the implementation of full scale facilities in the future capable of obtaining many different products from algae and in large quantities. This study specifically looks into the water footprint of hydrogen production via conventional gasification and hydrothermal gasification processes and diluent production via pyrolysis and hydrothermal liquefaction. Also, this study takes into consideration the differences in water usage between two different methods of algae cultivation (raceway ponds and photobioreactors), since the cultivation phase is normally the one which requires the highest amount of water. These studies were conducted in the context of the province of Alberta, where there are high demands for diluent and hydrogen by the oil sands industry. The results indicate that in terms of water footprint, photobioreactors are recommended over ponds in the Alberta scenario, while the differences between different thermochemical conversion methods are comparatively small.
2:20pm - 2:40pm
Assessing the Potential to Generate Heat and Electricity from the Wastes Produced in Alberta Industrial Heartlands
University of Alberta, Canada
Utilization and disposal of waste is a major concern in various jurisdictions in Alberta and Canada. The wastes are mostly comprised of municipal solid waste (MSW), agricultural residue (straw, livestock manure and on-farm dead), forest residue (roadside residues, mill waste) and waste heat from various industries. The amount of MSW as well as agricultural and forest residues available in the province of Alberta was estimated at 4.09 Mt/yr, 6.53 Mt/yr and 4.1 Mt/yr, respectively. Major portion of these wastes could be potentially diverted from being landfilled or burned to being utilized for energy production. This research focuses on Edmonton Industrial Heartland (AIH), in first phase, and the whole province of Alberta, in the second phase, to assess the utilization of waste material/energy for production of value-added products, particularly heat and electricity. This study includes development of extensive techno-economic models. Geographic information system (GIS) is as well used to identify the suitable locations for waste-to-energy conversion facilities via conducting exclusion, preference, and location-allocation analysis. Suitable locations are afterwards economically assessed for various waste conversion technologies along with optimization of size and identification of most optimal location(s). One waste-to-value added facility for AIH and 10 facilities for the province of Alberta are at the end recommended with exact geographical location and estimated cost of potential value-added products to be produced.