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Turning Waste into Fuel in Thailand


Turning Waste into Fuel in Thailand by way of UC Riverside

Lab in Thailand to use UC Riverside developed process to turn biomass and agricultural waste into gasoline, diesel and jet fuels

(May 3, 2011)

From left to right, Matt Barth, Reza Abbaschian, Timothy P. White, Kasemsri Homchean and Sutiporn Chewasatn.Enlarge

From left to right, Matt Barth, Reza Abbaschian, Timothy P. White, Kasemsri Homchean and Sutiporn Chewasatn.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- The University of California, Riverside and a national laboratory in Thailand signed an agreement Monday that will lead to researchers in Thailand installing a UC Riverside developed process that converts biomass and agricultural wastes into fuel in their new research laboratory.

The collaboration between the UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research focuses on steam hydro gasification, a thermal chemical process that turns carbon-based materials, including everything from food waste to wood, into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

“It’s really a an exciting project because Thailand is showcasing the UCR technology,“ said Joseph Norbeck, a professor emeritus at UC Riverside who, along with Dr. Chan Park and his students have led the development of steam hydro gasification at the College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT). “It’s a showcase for all of Asia.”

The steam hydrogasification process was recently rated the most efficient and least capital intensive of all gasification processes evaluated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The memorandum of understanding between UC Riverside and the institute in Thailand, which is effective for three years, will allow for: exchange of researchers to execute the research; exchange of information and publications on the research; advice on related technology; implementation of cooperative research; and joint publication of research.

Norbeck has had a 15-year relationship with researchers in Thailand. The relationship has also spawned several other collaborations between UC Riverside and Thai researchers.

Matt Barth, director of CE-CERT, and Kanok Boriboonsomsin, an assistant research engineer at CE-CERT, have done traffic modeling work in Thailand. Norbeck is also working with Thai researchers on studying algae as a biofuel.

Kasemsri Homchean, governor of Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, signed the agreement Monday with UC Riverside Chancellor Timothy P. White. Also present from Thailand were Sutiporn Chewasatn, deputy governor of Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research and Chanchira Sinoulchan, foreign relations officer with the institute.

In recent years, the Bourns College of Engineering has also entered into global collaborative agreements with Tsinghua University in China, Hanbat University and Hanyang University, both in South Korea, and Tohoku University in Japan. The college also signed a similar agreement with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, in 2010.

“It is critical to our mission that we be engaged with institutions and researchers throughout the world,” said Reza Abbaschian, dean of the Bourns College of Engineering. “Developing and sharing new knowledge across cultures and among nations ensures that we solve problems on a global as well as regional scale.”
From left to right, Reza Abbaschian, Timothy P. White and Kasemsri Homchean.Enlarge

From left to right, Reza Abbaschian, Timothy P. White and Kasemsri Homchean.

Timothy P. White and Kasemsri Homchean.Enlarge

Timothy P. White and Kasemsri Homchean.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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