Transforming Combustion into Clean Energy: CMU Develops Biomass from Agricultural Waste

12 March 2024

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

On February 16, 2024, Professor Dr. Nakorn Tippayawong from the Department of Mechanical Engineering led a delegation from the Faculty of Engineering to Mae Chaem District to showcase the operation and functionality of the Torrefactor and Pyrokyzer prototypes at Mae Na Chon Subdistrict Administrative Organization in Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai. They also implemented a 15-day trial period to enable locals to learn how to utilize the machines and effectively minimize agricultural waste burning.

It is crucial that implementation is closely linked with community participation, especially through the field visit aimed at knowledge transfer and practical demonstration of the utilization of the Torrefactor and Pyrolyzer by the Mae Na Chon Subdistrict Administrative Organization. These innovative solutions, developed through the collaborative efforts of the Faculty of Engineering and the Energy Research and Development Institute of Nakornping (ERDI), make effective use of corncobs, which are an abundant biomass residue left after corn harvesting in Mae Chaem and Chiang Dao. Traditionally, farmers would burn the stalks and cobs, exacerbating the haze crisis in Northern Thailand.
The Pyrolyzer was developed by ERDI and funded by the Energy Conservation Promotion Fund, funding approved by the Energy Policy and Planning Office of the Ministry of Energy, to create a prototype of the Pyrolysis Mobile Unit. This unit is designed to convert agricultural waste, such as rice, sugar cane, tapioca, palm oil, Par? rubber tree, field corn, soy, and coconut, into biochar. These materials are transformed into fuels that produce high heat in the form of char and biofuel. The process eliminates volatile substances while controlling the air for a constant period of time and temperature, resulting in high-quality carbon or char that can serve as a substitute for coal. The biofuel produced includes pyroligneous acid and tar. These char and biofuel products contribute to generating income for farmers, while also effectively and sustainably reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing haze problems.

In the case of Ban Na Hong in Mae Chaem, corn stalks are no longer burned but instead recycled into valuable charcoal briquettes as a result of research being put into practice. These agricultural wastes can also benefit local communities in various ways, such as providing fuel, acting as fertilizer, or generating income through sales. If you wish to obtain information, seek technological consultation, or request a demonstration for further application or potential investment, please contact ERDI during working hours. They can be reached at 053-942007-9 or 053-948195-8.