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

 

Cricket: Dramatic Win Puts Black Caps In Finals

In Parliament: When Parliament resumed at 2pm the House passed a motion on a voice vote admiring the performance of the New Zealand cricket team in last night’s World Cup semi-final and wishing them well for the final on the weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Moon Shot/Kills Switch: The X Factor Judges Removed

MediaWorks has today decided that Natalia Kills and Willie Moon are no longer suitable to judge The X Factor and have removed them from the show. MediaWorks CEO, Mark Weldon, said that last night on The X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. More>>

ALSO:

Tessa Nichol: Up Up & Away In The Wairarapa

It’s an overcast morning in the Wairarapa but the mood on the ground in Carterton’s Carrington Park is anything but grey. More than 20 hot air balloons are getting ready to take off into the cloudy sky to mark the start of this year’s Wairarapa Balloon Festival. More>>

Golden Shears: Scotsman Wins Golden Shears Open Final

A Scottish shearer who settled in New Zealand to farm in Taranaki has become the first shearer from overseas to win the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship. More>>

ALSO:

Shipped On A Bottle: Young Change-Makers Take To The Sea On Plastic Bottle Kayaks

With the aim of harnessing innovative design to construct kayaks solely from recycled materials, the “waste positive” project Plastic Bottle Kayak brings adventure into Kiwi classrooms. The call is out now for classrooms to send in messages and artwork to be inserted into the bottles. More>>

TV3 Video: Auckland Arts Festival Kicks Off

The Auckland Arts Festival kicks off March 4, with artists from New Zealand and all over the world on show. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news