Fernando Preto - Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass

Fernando Preto

Name: Fernando Preto
Field of expertise: Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass
Education: Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Queen’s University at Kingston
Works at: Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY laboratories in Ottawa, Ontario

What he studies

Dr. Preto works on developing new and improved technologies to make biomass a sustainable, efficient and clean source of energy. His research is focused on thermochemical or heat-associated chemical processes, namely: combustion, gasification, pyrolysis and torrefaction. These processes vary the time, temperature and pressure of biomass conversion to produce energy and/or gaseous, liquid or solid biofuels.

What is the importance of his research?

Dr. Preto’s research supports Canadian industry in the development of clean renewable energy sources. The work being accomplished with regards to bioenergy and bioproducts (fuels and chemicals) is crucial for the revitalization of the forest industry in Canada. It is widely recognized that the industry needs to diversify its activities and that advanced bioenergy and bioproducts will be key sectors in achieving that transformation.

Interesting fact

Until the mid-19th century biomass, the biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms, was the primary raw material for most of the products used in all human activities: food, feed, energy, clothes, materials, chemicals, medicines. Current research is developing the modern-day equivalent, which will ensure that biomass is used in a clean and sustainable manner.

Current research project

Fernando’s team is currently addressing technical gaps related to the conversion of forestry residues to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) via gasification, syngas cleaning and syngas conversion. The biomass-derived “Green” RNG would then be suitable for distribution through the existing natural gas grid infrastructure.

Key publications

Hurley S., Xu C., Preto F., Shao Y., Li H., Wang J., Tourigny G. (2012). Catalytic gasification of woody biomass in an air-blown fluidized-bed reactor using Canadian limonite iron ore as the bed material. Fuel, 91(1), 170-6.

McKenney D.W., Yemshanov D., Fraleigh S., Allen D., Preto F. (2011). An economic assessment of the use of short-rotation coppice woody biomass to heat greenhouses in southern Canada. Biomass Bioenergy, 35(1), 374-84.

Preto F., Zhang X., Wang J. (2008). Gasification behavior of carbon residue in bed solids of black liquor gasifier. Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science Journal, 32(7), 1421-8.

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