Prof. Goldfarb Awarded NSF Grant to Study Hydrochar Formation & Combustion

Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) converts wet biomass waste streams to hydrochar, a carbon-based solid often called bio-coal for its “coal-like” properties. Despite the growing popularity of HTC as a waste conversion scheme, we know little about the fundamental combustion properties of this renewable bio-coal. In collaboration with Dr. Jacqueline O’Connor (Penn State Mechanical Engineering) we will use funding from the National Science Foundation Combustion & Fire Systems to uncover (1) how hydrochars form and (2) how hydrochars combust. This knowledge is critical to understanding which waste feedstocks and processing conditions optimize hydrochar fuel properties, and what combustor operating conditions maximize energy recovery.