BFN & Biotech Annecto Event Popup

Mohammad Shahed Hasan Khan Tushar, PhD Candidate, School of Engineering, University of Guelph

When I was a kid, one of my favorite cartoon show was ‘Captain Planet and the Planeteers’. The main reason behind that is, I wanted to be a superhero who saves the earth  and environment. Since then I have a great passion for working in search of something eco-friendly and easily accessible to all.

As we are all aware that climate change is in large part due to excessive dependency on underground fuels (fossil fuels), we need something that safely sustains our future generations. When I had the opportunity to research eco-friendly hydrogen produced from livestock manure waste, I became fascinated with this field.


Livestock manure

Hydrogen is the cleanest burning fuel as it produces only water and energy. Thus, if we burn hydrogen, the process does not produce pollutants that harm our environment. However, hydrogen is not freely available in the world, although it is abundant.

We need some type of ‘suitable technologies’ to extract hydrogen from a primary source, such as any fossil fuel, plant material or any material that can be called a hydrocarbon. Among the available technologies, the process of gasifying biomass beyond the critical point of water (supercritical water gasification, SCWG) allows to have almost pure hydrogen. The byproduct is carbon dioxide, which can be separated by passing the product gas through a water bath where carbon dioxide will be dissolved and hydrogen can be then stored. It differs from the conventional gasification process because in this case, drying is not necessary in SCWG, which saves time and money.

Now, what is the critical point of a substance? Every pure substance has three different known phases: solid, liquid and gas. However, there is a certain temperature and pressure, beyond which any pure substance becomes a distinct phase compared to the usual three known phases. The point is called the critical point and the substance is called the supercritical fluid.

By using SCWG, we can generate hydrogen, which can be used to run vehicles and thus reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission. Hydrogen also has many industrial applications. The major by-product, carbon dioxide also has various industrial applications; it can be stored for carbon capture. Even if carbon dioxide is not captured and released to the atmosphere, it can be used up by plants, which make their own food using through photosynthesis using carbon dioxide.

Research is not only limited to performing experiments and data mining, but also sharing the ideas with others and communicating research, which is a very important factor. BioFuelNet facilitates communication with other researchers and individuals who are interested in bio-based research. BioFuelNet is not only arranging conferences and events, they are also trying to improve communication skills using  various workshops. This is very important for new researchers like us. So, I hope BFN will continue to arrange the conferences and workshops to build a better and greener future.

Lastly, I want to share a very powerful song by the ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson, the Earth Song.

I am going to finish my story by saying the words that the Captain Planet said “The Power is Yours”.

Most Popular Posts

All data and information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. BioFuelNet Canada makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.