Producing fuels from under-utilized biomass instead of fossil based feedstock is an effective means of alleviating concerns about climate change and energy security, according to an engineering professor who will present his research at a conference in India this week.
“These are the major factors driving our search for cheap renewable energy sources,” said Jerald Lalman, a professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Dr. Lalman was invited to deliver a plenary lecture at an International Conference on Green Technology, which runs July 26-27 at Sastra University in Kumbakonam. Lalman is currently supervising two PhD students from Sastra, and recently mentored a graduate student from the southern Indian university who was on a five month Canadian Commonwealth scholarship.
Lalman’s research is focused on producing biofuels from such low value biomass as wood wastes, agricultural residues, aquatic plants and algae. Regardless of the source, biomass typically consists of cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin, and during pre-treatment hexose and pentose sugars are released. A major focus of Lalman’s work is directed at utilizing fermentable sugars from low value biomass to produce hydrogen and methane.