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

 

A Series Of Tubes: 150 Years Of The Cook Strait Cable

“It was a momentous achievement for its time. The successful connection came on the third attempt at laying the cable, and followed a near disaster when the first cable snapped - almost destroying the ship Weymouth in the process,” says Ms Adams. More>>

ALSO:

February 2017: Guns N' Roses - New Zealand Dates Announced

Founder Axl Rose and former members, Slash and Duff McKagan have regrouped for one of the century’s most anticipated tours... Rolling Stone said: "This was the real thing, the thing we'd all been waiting for: the triumphant return of one of the most important bands to cross rock music history. And it happened in our lifetime.” More>>

Werewolf: Brando, Peckinpah And Billy The Kid

Gordon Campbell: Initially, One-Eyed Jacks was supposed to have been directed by Stanley Kubrick from a script by Sam Peckinpah – yet it quickly became Brando’s baby... More>>

Book Awards: ANZAC Heroes Wins Margaret Mahy Book Of The Year

“Simply stunning, with gold-standard production values,” say the judges of the winner of this year’s Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award in the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. ANZAC Heroes is also the winner of the Elsie Locke Award for the Best Book in the Non-Fiction category. More>>

Baby Animals: Hamilton Zoo Rhino Calf Named

Hamilton Zoo’s latest rhino calf has been named Samburu and he's being celebrated with a unique zoo experience... Samburu arrived after his mother Kito’s 16-month pregnancy and the calf brings the number of white rhinos at Hamilton Zoo to six. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Rio Olympics

Were you pretty excited earlier this week when Vietnam won its first ever Olympic gold medal? Hanoi, reportedly, went wild... Perhaps we should keep Vietnam’s golden moment in mind as we gear up for saturation media coverage of New Zealand’s medal achievements in Rio. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news