Scientists at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a new method to obtain solid biochar and hydrogen gas, two of the cleanest and most efficient fuels, from a photothermal chemical process on biological waste such as banana peels. or coffee beans.
In their search for new alternative and renewable energy sources, EPFL researchers have developed a new method based on techniques commonly used in electronic printing ink curing processes that allow them to convert biomass into energy.
The method uses a xenon lamp that generates a powerful shot of light on the biomass so that it absorbs it and instantly triggers a photothermal conversion of biological waste into syngas (a mixture of hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons). and biochar.
Hydrogen and biochar
This technique was used on different biomass sources: banana, coconut, orange peels, corn cobs and coffee beans, which were subjected to 105 °C for 24 hours and then ground and sieved to a fine powder, explained the researchers. experts in a statement.
After completing the process, the two final products obtained are hydrogen and solid biochar.
Hydrogen, considered by some experts to be the perfect fuel, can produce electricity and this, in turn, can generate hydrogen, thus creating a loop of renewable and environmentally friendly energy.
Solid biochar as well as fuel can be used as fertilizer.
“Each kilo of dry biomass can generate about 100 liters of hydrogen and 330 grams of biochar, which is up to a third of the mass of the original dry banana peel,” said one of the experts involved in the study, Bhawna Nagar.