Irish Research Funding #LoveIrishResearch


Dr Karla Dussan



Starting date


Finishing date


Summary and objectives

Natural gas is one of the most abundantly used energy resources in Ireland and yet 95% of it remains being imported every year. It is critical to procure indigenous and sustainable means of natural gas production to assist with the consolidation of the Irish energy sector. Syngas obtained from biomass gasification represents a potential alternative, since it is obtained through a flexible process with several plausible feedstocks and a wide range of products. Even though numerous experimental studies have contemplated the use of biomass in different gasification reactors, i.e. fluidised bed and entrained-flow reactor, the technical feasibility of the process remains highly dependent on the type of biomass feedstock and relies on exhaustive study. The present project intends to study the feasibility of using Irish biomass feedstocks, in particular forestry/agricultural residues and municipal wastes, for the production of high quality syngas via gasification. With this purpose, a gasification model will be developed for the simulation of physical and chemical phenomena of the thermochemical conversion of biomass with high accuracy at a low computational cost. The model will rely on flexible reaction chemistry principles that resemble accurately the conversion of multiple types of biomass under a wide range of reaction conditions so that it can be implemented regardless of the material evaluated. This tool will facilitate the technical evaluation of the use of gasification technology as an alternative for the production of renewable synthetic natural gas in Ireland.

 The main objective of this project is to evaluate the production of high-quality syngas through gasification of Irish biomass through novel and accurate process modelling of gasification reactors. For the completion of this, it is important to:

  • Develop accurate composition-based kinetic unified models to describe the reactivity of a wide range of biomass materials under reaction conditions observed in thermal processes, such as torrefaction, pyrolysis and gasification.
  • Construct a Reduced-order model for the description of a gasifier involving the novel composition-based kinetic models of biomass conversion and physical transport phenomena observed in process configurations of interest, i.e. fluidised-bed reactor.
  • Evaluate the suitability of Irish biomass feedstocks for their conversion to syngas through gasification, product distribution and quality, and operational requirements.
Projected research outputs
  • Review and revision of current chemical reaction kinetics of reactions involved in biomass gasification: pyrolysis, char formation, char gasification.
  • Reduced Order Model formulation for a fluidised bed gasifier.
  • The composition of biomass materials available in Ireland (wood and agricultural residues, municipal solid wastes and sludge) will be used as inputs in the gasification model, in order to evaluate the quality of the products (gas yield and composition) and the operational requirements, such as ideal oxygen and biomass feed rate.
Conferences proceedings

K Dussan, S Dooley, RFD Monaghan. New Pseudo-components of hemicellulose and lignin. 25th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, Stockholm, Sweden, June 12-15, 2017

K Dussan, S Dooley, RFD Monaghan. Empiricism of the kinetics of biomas pyrolysis: Solid composition approximations. 8th European Combustion Meeting, Dubrovnik, Croatia, April 18-21, 2017

K Dussan, S Dooley, RFD Monaghan.  The role of biochemical composition in pyrolysis reaction kinetics of lignocellulosic biomass: Surrogate approach. 24th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 2016

K Dussan, S Dooley, RFD Monaghan.  Effect of chemical composition on the pyrolysis reaction kinetics of lignocellulosic biomass using surrogates. 6th International Conference on Engineering for Waste and Biomass Valorisation, Albi, France, May 2016


Journal publications

Integrating compositional features in model compounds for a kinetic mechanism of hemicellulose pyrolysis. K Dussan, S Dooley, RFD Monaghan. 2017. Chemical Engineering Journal 328, 943-961

The role of biochemical composition in pyrolysis reaction kinetics of lignocellulosic biomass: Surrogate approach.  K Dussan, S Dooley, RFD Monaghan. 2016Proceedings of the 24th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, DOI: 10.5071/24thEUBCE2016-3DV.3.39 



Irish Research Council