Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Flash Hawaii job for Waikato science graduate

22 January, 2014

Just three weeks after handing in his masters thesis, University of Waikato chemistry graduate Simon Williams was on a plane to Hawaii.

Since that day two years ago he has worked as a research assistant at the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), in the Renewable Resources Research Laboratory (R3 Lab). The R3 Lab is a test-bed for the development of innovative technologies and processes for the conversion of biomass into fuels and other products.

Simon has been involved in the laboratory’s work on Flash Carbonization™ and studying the thermochemistry of biomass conversion via pyrolysis into biocarbon (charcoal).

“Flash Carbonization™ involves the ignition of a flash fire at elevated pressure in a packed bed of biomass. The elevated pressure, allows the fire to quickly spread through the bed, converting the biomass to biocarbon. High carbon yields can be achieved in as little as 20 or 30 minutes. By contrast, conventional charcoal-making methods take from eight hours to several days,” says Simon

The long term goal is for small communities like those in Hawaii to be able to turn locally produced biomass such as macadamia nut shells, into biocarbon. The biocarbon can be used as a fuel to replace imported fossil fuels, or in agriculture for soil beneficiation and carbon sequestration.

Simon works on a number of projects running in the lab, with a focus on the chemical analysis of the gases produced in the experiments. “I run a piece of equipment called a Micro GC, which is a specialised miniature gas chromatograph used to measure the composition of the gases from our carbonisation experiments.”

He says his Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Master of Science (MSc) degrees set him up well for his role. “I learnt a lot about various instruments and instrument support which is a significant part of my job now.”

As a school student Simon attended Tauranga Boys’ College and got a head start on university, by completing two level 100 papers at Waikato University while in Year 13. This made the transition to tertiary study easier and allowed him to complete some 200 level papers in the first year of his BSc.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Francis Cook: Gallipoli: The Scale Of Our War – First Look

Te Papa today allowed media access to their new exhibition Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War . The exhibition was curated with help from Weta Workshop to deliver an immersive, realistic and even disorienting experience. More>>

ALSO:

Bats Theatre: Letters From The Front Brings ANZAC Letters Alive

Inspired by centenary commemorations, improv troupe Best on Tap is producing a show based on real-life letters sent to and from New Zealand soldiers in the First World War. More>>

ALSO:

Publishing: Unity Books On Plan To Close Te Papa Press

Unity Books is alarmed that Te Papa is proposing to suspend publishing by Te Papa Press for 4 or 5 years. Te Papa Press has proven time and time again that it has both award and bestseller capability and fulfils its kaupapa. More>>

ALSO:

Cinema: ‘The Desk’ Featuring Paul Henry To Have NZ Debut

The Documentary Edge Festival is thrilled to announce The Desk as a late entry to its 2015 Programme. The film, featuring local broadcaster Paul Henry, will have its international premiere on May 21 at 10pm at Q Theatre (book now at qtheatre.co.nz) with limited screenings also on offer in Wellington and Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Art: Considering Feminisms In Aotearoa New Zealand: Two Projects

Feminism is something that has changed our lives. Recently, the activist Marilyn Waring reviewed the impact of feminism in Aotearoa New Zealand and reminded us that just 40 years ago banks wouldn’t lend women money without the guarantee of a man, ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news