Greetings!  This is the program for the Epic Innovation Sessions hosted at Nipmuc Regional High School on Saturday, Nov 9, 2019.  It is open to anyone who is interested to come to find out why Massachusetts is the most innovative state in the nation.  You MUST register to attend this event.  Teachers will be given 4 PDPs for completion of the day.  Registration closes at 11:59 pm Friday, Nov 1, 2019.  Register at https://tinyurl.com/EpicInnovations.
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Saturday, November 9 • 9:25am - 9:55am
The circular bioeconomy: converting biowaste into biofuels and biobased products LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

This talk will focus on the circular bioeconomy by demonstrating that low-value biowaste can be converted into biofuels and biobased products via a novel hydrothermal process (HTP).

Each year, the US produces 79 million dry tons of liquid biowaste such as food waste and animal waste, while the global plastic waste generation has continued to rise over the past 50 years (more than 350 million tons of plastics produced in 2015). Although often considered as environmental pollutants, these organic wastes contain large amounts of unharnessed energy. Yet, these organic wastes have complex and variable compositions so options for making high-value products from such waste are limited. It is imperative to develop efficient and economical methods to convert these organic wastes into useful products, and to provide economic incentives for industry to implement new technologies at large scale.

Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is well suited for the valorization of organic waste in an economical way because it 1) uses water as the reaction medium and 2) converts non-lipid components into biocrude oil. Unlike producing conventional biodiesel from food processing waste and algae, which is highly proportional to the lipid content of feedstocks, HTL enables efficient energy recovery from the downstream of the human food chain, avoiding competition of bioenergy production with the farmland and food supply. The biocrude converted from organic waste using HTL has comparable heating values to petroleum crude, but its composition is too complex for use as transportation fuels.

In this presentation, I would like to highlight my research programs about the robustness of HTL for treating various organic waste (food waste, animal waste, algae, and plastic waste). My research indicates that an estimated 0.3-1 billion tons of HTL biocrude oil can be produced by further utilizing the nutrients from the biowaste to grow more biomass, which will largely change the liquid fuel landscape. This approach realizes the potential of wet biowaste to alleviate petroleum importation in the U.S. and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

avatar for Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen

Wan-Ting (Grace) Chen

(Invited) Speaker, University of Massachussets Lowell
Prof. Grace Chen is the director of the Energy & Environment Research Laboratory (EERL) at UML. Her research group has extensive experience in the biowaste conversion and chemical recycling of plastic waste. Her lab is equipped with reactors for HTL of organic waste and characterizations... Read More →

Saturday November 9, 2019 9:25am - 9:55am EST

Attendees (7)