The Pyrolysis-Bioenergy-Biochar Pathway to Carbon-Negative Energy

An integrated pyrolysis-bioenergy-biochar platform can provide multiple pathways for production of sustainable, carbon-negative fuels, power, chemicals, products, and biochar.

[DIAGRAM]Biochar cycle

Two pathways are being studied:

  • A biochar & biofuel scenario, in which bio-oil is hydrotreated and then refined to produce both gasoline and diesel.
  • A biochar & bio-power scenario, in which a solid fuel prepared from bio-oil, known as Lignocol, is used as a substitute for coal in power generation.

We are performing techno-economic analysis to assess economic performance of pyrolysis plants and life-cycle assessments to determine net GHG emissions. In collaboration with industry partners, including Easy Energy Systems and Stine Seed, we are engineering, optimizing, and demonstrating a 50 ton/day modular pyrolyzer.

[PHOTO]Pyrolyzer pilot plant

Pilot-Scale Pyrolyzer

APSIM Biochar Module

We have designed, built, and are testing a biochar module within the Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM), a widely used cropping systems model. This effort systemizes the science underlying complex soil-biochar-crop-climate interactions and provides predictions of agronomic and environmental responses to biochar applications.

[PHOTO]Biochar Application

Biochar Application

To further evaluate the impact of biochar amendments on various cropping systems, soil quality parameters, and environmental outcomes, we are also conducting laboratory, greenhouse, and field plot studies.

[PHOTO]Biochar test plots

Biochar Test Plots

This effort includes researchers from Iowa State University, University of California, Berkeley, and Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis and is funded by the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) at Stanford University.

For more information, contact David Laird, dlaird@iastate.edu.



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