Rapid growth in logistics and construction sectors has led a huge demand of wood pallet for ease of transportation. Significant waste generation from the used wood pallet has occupied 8-10% of landfill capacity in Hong Kong. There is an utmost need to transform such solid waste to useful organic substance or harmless products.
This project aims to develop a heterogeneous catalyst to transform the wood into functional organic compounds such as wood vinegar. Wood vinegar can be generated by a catalytic process using a specially designed metallic-based catalysts. The prepared catalysts will be characterized and evaluated in the pyrolysis in terms of the product yield. The project will be further developed into the bench-top chemical process prototype as experiential learning model and will be further applied in the industrial process.
The recruited UROP students will be responsible for catalyst synthesis, characterization, and evaluation in the pyrolytic process. The real wood waste will be supplied as raw materials for the pyrolysis process. The students will require to develop the whole wood pyrolysis process including the material selection of tubular reactor, the parameter study of the optimization, and the characterization of the pyrolysis products. The bench-top process prototype will be developed for practical application in generation of the wood vinegar. Progress/Final reports will be required at the end of the course.
There are five learning objectives of this project:
(1) To learn how to setup a chemical process unit with consideration of system parameters such as temperature, pressure, and flow rates of the carrier gas flow.
(2) To learn the analytical techniques for catalyst characterization, as well as the pyrolytic products.
(3) To provide an experiential learning approach for the students in the designing of the catalysts and the pyrolytic process, which includes the configuration of the catalysts and raw materials inside the reaction.
(4) To apply the knowledge of mass balance and energy balance in the chemical process via the study.
(5) To learn how to scale-up the process for prototype development.