Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Mechanical Engineering (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Prakash Bhoi


A key greenhouse gas (GHG) emission contributing to climate change is carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. This emission is largely due to the use of fossil fuel as a major energy source. Biomass is an alternative energy source. Biochar, a byproduct of the pyrolysis process (of biomass), could be gasified to produce syngas (a mixture of CO and H2). This syngas can further be used to produce different kinds of fuels like biodiesel, bio-gasoline, bioethanol, etc. In the steam gasification of biochar, the quality and yield of syngas is dependent on parameters such as temperature, particle size, reactor size, type of biochar, gasifying medium, and steam to feedstock ratio. Increasing temperature can improve the yield of hydrogen to produce high quality syngas. The overall goal of this study is to evaluate the performance of steam gasification of pine biochar at temperatures of 700, 800, and 900 ℃ and biochar packed bed height of 3-inch (25 g), 4-inch (35 g), and 6-inch (50 g). For 6-inch (about 50 g of biochar), the average hydrogen concentrations were 14.7, 37.2, and 59.0 % vol at 700, 800 and 900 °C temperatures, respectively. A similar trend was noticed in the case of 3 and 4-inch bed heights of biochar. At a temperature of 900 ℃, the average hydrogen concentrations were 43.7, 48.4, and 59.0 % vol at 3-inch, 4-inch and 6-inch biochar bed heights, respectively. A similar trend was observed in the case of 700 and 800 ℃ temperatures. Overall, this study showed that increase in temperature and biochar bed height can produce a hydrogen-rich syngas.