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Australian researcher wins grant for biomass cofiring project

By Curtin University | December 06, 2012

Curtin University researchers will develop new technology for reducing carbon dioxide emissions after receiving $1 million of state government funding.

John Curtin Distinguished Professor Chun-Zhu Li, director of the Fuels and Energy Technology Institute, will lead the project, which aims to replace some of the coal burned in coal-fired power stations with biomass.

The technology rapidly and efficiently converts biomass into vapor and finely ground char particles so it can be efficiently burned with coal in existing coal generation infrastructure.

The team will further develop and scale up the novel proprietary pyrolysis technology that has been developed at Curtin University. Professor Li said the commercialization of the technology will solve a bottleneck problem currently experienced in the cofiring of biomass and coal, reducing emissions as a result of burning less coal.

“Using the existing coal-fired power plants to do the cofiring makes the process one of the cheapest and quickest ways to lower carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by making full use of the existing power generation capital equipment,” Li said.

“This project will be a critical step in scaling up the novel pyrolysis technology we have been working on and enabling us to make this technology available for commercial use.”

Professor Li and his research team will receive $1 million of state government funding from the Low Emissions Energy Development Fund to carry out the two-to-three year project with Verve Energy.

Professor Li said the commercialization of this technology would result in substantial social, economic and environmental benefits for Western Australia.