[HYU Research] The Era of Sustainable Bioenergy Is Coming
Professor Jeon Byong-hun
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* This article is published in 2019 Hanyang Research Magazine Vol.2
The current climate crisis from the rapid increase in carbon emissions of modern society is recognized as a planet-wide problem that exceeds regional and national boundaries, and the global interest in the production of carbon-neutral renewable energy "from the various" sources such as wind, sunlight, and tide has been raised more than ever before. Meanwhile, research on biomass-based renewable energy has also been actively conducted in recent years. Prof. Jeon Byong-Hun (Department of Earth Resources and Environmental Engineering at Hanyang University) is a renowned expert in the international bioenergy research society.
Prof. Jeon’s pioneering works have been primarily on biogas production by anaerobic co-digestion using various biomass sources such as FOG (Fat, oil and grease), and on liquid biofuels production from microalgal biomass to address the solution toward the global warming.
Prof. Jeon stated that, “As marine dumping of organic wastes (e.g. sewage sludge, livestock manure and food waste) has been prohibited, careful attention in their alternative treatments was emphasized for simultaneous recovery of renewable bioenergy during the treatment process of biomass.”
The conventional ways of treating organic waste biomass (e.g. incineration, landfill or compost) are limited in their energy recovery and usage. However, utilizing different wastes including FOG in anaerobic digestion can lead to high yield of methane as clean renewable energy while reducing the volume of organic waste. Furthermore, unlike other types of renewable energy, biofuels can not only be utilized for the production of electricity but also directly used for combustion in engines.
A researcher in Jeon’s laboratory said “The anaerobic digestion research had been somewhat difficult due to the sanitary issues related to sampling and handling of sludges produced from domestic wastewater treatment process that is used for research, plus the biological complexity and sensitivity of the anaerobic microbes in them. But I find it worthwhile to conduct the research using difficult-to-treat organic wastes that contain number of organic wastes to produce useful renewable energy.”
In the concluding remarks, Prof. Jeon said, “I have obtained B.S., M.S. & Ph.D. degrees from Hanyang University, and Pennsylvania State University, USA, in natural resources and environmental engineering so I have been participating in the converged research studies, and I wanted to solve social problems such as global warming through my research. I also wish that more people and the government will get to have more interest on the societal importance of renewable energy in the future and pay their attention on the commercialization of bioenergy production from various biomass.”
Click to Read Hanyang Research 2019 Vol.2
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