Dissertation Defense – Kiran Raj Goud Burra

Title: Investigation into Pyrolysis and Gasification of Solid Waste Components and Their Mixtures

Author: Kiran Raj Goud Burra

Date/Time: March 29th, 2021 | 11:00 AM

Dissertation Committee:
Professor Ashwani K. Gupta, Chair
Professor Nam Sun Wang
Professor Bao Yang
Professor Gary A. Pertmer
Professor Dongxia Liu, Dean’s Representative

Carbon neutral sources such as abundant biomass reserves and landfill-destined high energy density wastes such as plastics, and tire-wastes can be utilized together for energy and material production for a sustainable future. Pyrolysis and gasification can convert these variable feedstocks into valuable and uniform synthetic gas (syngas) with versatile downstream applicability to energy, liquid fuels, and other value-added chemicals production. But seasonal availability, high moisture and ash content, and relatively low energy density of biomass can result in significant energy and economic losses during gasification. Furthermore, gasification of plastic wastes separately was found to result in feeding issues due to melt-phase, coking, and agglomerative behavior leading to operational issues. To resolve these issues, co-processing of biomass with these plastics and rubber wastes was found to be promising in addition to providing synergistic interaction leading to enhanced syngas yield and inhibitive behavior in some cases and thus motivating this work. This dissertation provides a deconvoluted understanding and quantification of the source and impact of these interactions for better process performance and alleviation of inhibitive interaction needed to develop reliable co-gasification of feedstock mixtures. They address the knowledge gap in versatile feedstock-flexible gasifier development for efficient and reliable syngas production from varying solid waste and biomass component mixtures with minimal changes to the operating conditions.