Waste to Carbon: Influence of Structural Modification on VOC Emission Kinetics from Stored Carbonized Refuse-Derived Fuel

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Białowiec, Andrzej
Micuda, Monika
Szumny, Antoni
Łyczko, Jacek
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Koziel, Jacek
Professor Emeritus
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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

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  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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The torrefaction of municipal solid waste is one of the solutions related to the Waste to Carbon concept, where high-quality fuel—carbonized refuse-derived fuel (CRDF)—is produced. An identified potential problem is the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during CRDF storage. Kinetic emission parameters have not yet been determined. It was also shown that CRDF can be pelletized for energy densification and reduced volume during storage and transportation. Thus, our working hypothesis was that structural modification (via pelletization) might mitigate VOC emissions and influence emission kinetics during CRDF storage. Two scenarios of CRDF structural modification on VOC emission kinetics were tested, (i) pelletization and (ii) pelletization with 10% binder addition and compared to ground (loose) CRDF (control). VOC emissions from simulated sealed CRDF storage were measured with headspace solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. It was found that total VOC emissions from stored CRDF follow the first-order kinetic model for both ground and pelletized material, while individual VOC emissions may deviate from this model. Pelletization significantly decreased (63%~86%) the maximum total VOC emission potential from stored CDRF. Research on improved sustainable CRDF storage is warranted. This could involve VOC emission mechanisms and environmental-risk management.


This article is published as Białowiec, Andrzej, Monika Micuda, Antoni Szumny, Jacek Łyczko, and Jacek A. Koziel. "Waste to Carbon: Influence of Structural Modification on VOC Emission Kinetics from Stored Carbonized Refuse-Derived Fuel." Sustainability 11, no. 3 (2019): 935. DOI: 10.3390/su11030935. Posted with permission.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019