Lab Facilities

The Biomass Laboratory along with cooperating University centers and laboratories maintain equipment and instrumentation for characterizing thermal, physical, and chemical properties of feedstock, intermediates, and products, and for investigating conversion under different reaction conditions.  Equipment and instrumentation include:

  • 0.1 x 2 m internally circulating zone-heated fluidized bed reactor with gas extraction and purification capacity and multiple fluidizing media (steam, air, inert gases, other)
  • Controlled temperature/atmosphere/residence time single-screw moving bed reactor with oil and char recovery for continuous pyrolysis and other thermal processing.
  • Programmable/variable atmosphere high temperature furnaces (Thermcraft, Kanthal EPD, Deltec) to investigate mineral phase relationships, melt behavior and reactor fouling properties of inorganic constituents in biomass in addition to batch studies of crude and pretreated feedstock in designing larger-scale reactor experiments.
  • Programmable muffle furnaces (Fisher Isotemp 750-58, 497) and low-temperature air/vacuum drying ovens (Thermoelectron/Lindberg) for proximate analysis (moisture, ash, volatile matter, fixed carbon) of feedstock and products.
  • LECO TruSpec CHN Elemental Determinator with LECO TruSpec Sulfur add-on module and LECO AMA254 Mercury Analyzer for ultimate elemental (C, H, N, S) and mercury analysis.
  • Thermogravimetric and differential thermal analyzers (Perkin-Elmer DIAMOND TG/DTA) to investigate thermal conversion kinetics, mass and heat flows, and reaction mechanisms.
  • Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for elemental and evolved gas analysis (Center for Mass Spectrometry).
  • GC (HP 5890/Agilent 6890N) and GC/MS (Agilent 6850/5975C) for analysis and speciation of product gases and liquids.
  • HPLC (Shimadzu Series 10/20) for analysis of ions, acids, phenols and soluble carbohydrates.
  • On-line continuous emissions analysis (Horiba PG250) for major combustion gas species (CO, CO2, NOx, SO2, O2).
  • EPA Method 5 sampling trains for measurements of particulate matter in air and process gas streams.
  • Electron beam microprobe (EBM), SEM, and XRF/XRD for microstructural analysis of crude, pretreated, and processed materials (Departments of Geology and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science).
  • Adiabatic constant volume calorimetry (IKA C5003/C5001) for determination of heating value.
  • Vibratory sieve (Retsch AS200) and pycnometry (Micromeritics AccuPyc II) for particle size distribution, density, and other physical property analysis.
  • Size reduction equipment and densification equipment (custom and Instron 3300 Testing System) for feedstock and sample processing.
  • Electronic data acquisition and control equipment with Labview software and networked PCs.

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