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Centre for Integrated Energy Research

White Rose Collaboration Fund Awarded

Dr Chunfei Wu of the Energy Research Institute (ERI) has obtained a one year White Rose Collaboration Fund titled ‘Energy and fuels from thermal chemical conversion of biomass’ (Value: £10,500) used to carry out collaborations between the Universities of York, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.

Gasification has potential as a major input to the future energy mix by generating the flexible and simple syngas and hydrogen fuel mixtures. However, currently this technology cannot be used with biomass due to the nature of the material. A range of technologies are emerging for pyrolysis of biomass which would solve these problems and generate a renewable feedstock for the gasification process.

The aim of this project is to explore the feasibility of a combining different novel methods of biomass pyrolysis with steam-air gasification as a potential route for the production of bioenergy carriers e.g. syngas and hydrogen.


  • Form a consortium linking the strong expertise in thermal conversion of biomass and power generation within the Yorkshire area to solve a major bioenergy issue
  • Investigate differences between microwave and conventional biomass pyrolysis on production of syngas and hydrogen in combination of oil reforming
  • Study gasification of char derived from microwave and conventional biomass pyrolysis
  • Identify potential academic and industrial partners for future collaboration (particularly in UK and China)
  • Model biomass pyrolysis to predict product generation and plant design
  • Identify funding streams and develop data to support a further bid using this funding as a pump-primer for a larger project taking the methodology to commercialisation

The project will undertake the following activities:

  • Carry out experimental work including biomass pyrolysis, reforming of crude bio-oil, gasification of char and process modelling to investigate the benefits of microwave and conventional pyrolysis
  • Attend conferences/workshops/events related to thermal bioenergy to identify academic and industrial partners
  • Hold inception event and international workshop (current project partners will attend the inception event; project partners and potential other academic and industrial partners from UK and China e.g. University of Cardiff, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Dalian University of Technology and Nankai University currently identified as prospective partners) to discuss development in the thermal bioenergy in terms of conventional and microwave pyrolysis and also to apply large project
  • Hold project meetings at monthly intervals to discuss project progress