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CSS Research Forum

Event Type
Julia Magee
Center for Sustainable Systems
December 4, 202012:30pm - 1:15pm

Please join us for our fourth CSS Research Forum of Fall 2020.  We'll hear a Master's Thesis presentation from a SEAS student advised by Dr. Jose Alfaro.


Title: Estimating the Potential Energy Yield from the Use of Woody Invasive Species as Feedstocks for Biomass Gasification in Southeast Michigan

Abstract: Small-scale biomass gasification presents an opportunity for distributed renewable energy generation. The use of invasive species as feedstocks facilitates this generation without the reliance on agricultural residues from monocultures, particularly in Michigan. Further, an opportunity is created to manage the ecological harm caused by invasive species while simultaneously co-producing biochar, which has the potential for carbon sequestration. However, the potential energy yield from gasification must be understood and contextualized with potential offset CO2e emissions from the avoided use of grid electricity, and economic savings. In this work, honeysuckle and buckthorn collected in southeast Michigan were used as separate feedstocks for biomass gasification. They were used in a small-scale Imbert gasifier built by the researchers and separate trials captured the percent composition of the produced syngas. The respective compositions were used to calculate the lower heating value (LHV) of the syngas produced from each feedstock. The LHV for syngas produced using honeysuckle was found to be 6.6 ± 2.4 MJ/kg and 6.0 ± 1.8 MJ/kg for syngas produced using buckthorn. The gasification efficiency for the conversion of dry honeysuckle to syngas was 56.31 ± 22.73 % and 50.95 ± 17.70 % for the conversion of dry buckthorn to syngas. Abated greenhouse gas emissions were calculated to be 2.4 kgCO2e/kg of honeysuckle and 2.1 kgCO2e/kg of buckthorn. Finally, given assumptions about the amount of these species available in Michigan, a potential 1.86 TWh or 1.68 TWh of energy could be yielded from honeysuckle or buckthorn respectively, at a price/kWh lower than current residential rates in the state.

Bio: Julia Magee is a dual-degree student earning a MS in Environment and Sustainability (Sustainable Systems) and MSE in Mechanical Engineering. Her interests are in understanding the impact of the implementation of renewable energy, particularly as a catalyst for increasing livelihoods in sustainable development contexts. Prior to joining SEAS, Julia earned a BS in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Music from Cornell University in 2018. She seeks to assist in the sustainable and equitable transition to renewable energy systems after graduation this December.

To join this Zoom event: passcode:  625801