The sectors and technologies which drive the Green Economy, such as wind and solar energy, low-carbon transport, clean energy vehicles, fuel efficient infrastructure and recycling facilities, are all dependent on steel-based products. The partial substitution of fossil fuels by renewable biomass products represents one of few options to mitigate the CO2 emission in iron and steel industry within short and middle terms.
The main goal will be exploring in detail the potential of an emerging biomass carbonisation technology, the so-called Hydrothermal Carbonization (HTC), as a new route towards the conversion of organic wastes into high value carbonaceous products to achieve a competitive performance, efficiency and sustainability in blast furnace. The recycling of biomass residues generated in industrial activities and / or consumption by this sustainable process offers additional advantages by reducing the cost and the environmental impacts of their disposal.
The priority will be to obtain quantitative correlations between the physico-chemical properties and the effectiveness of the hydrochars under realistic operation conditions.
The tasks to developed will be related to a diversity of topics:
- Hydrothermal treatment of biomass wastes at lab- and pilot-scales
- Physico-chemical characterization of biomass feedstocks and the corresponding hydrochars by the combination of a large variety of techniques (chemical analysis, calorific value, ash composition, XRD, Raman, FTIR, XPS, gas adsorption, mercury porosimetry, etc..
- Assessment of the diverse hydrochars for blast furnace injection by thermogravimetry under pyrolysis and combustion conditions.
- Comparison of the characteristics and thermal behaviour of hydrochars with those of coals used for injection and charcoals produced by slow low-temperature pyrolysis.
This research work will give student a perspective on the thermochemical conversion of biomass and the potential application of solid fuels in ironmaking together with the application of several analytical techniques and the fundamentals behind them that can be strong points of connection with other carbon material applications.