Ronghou Liu

Professor, Department of Resources & Environment, Shanghai Jiaotong University

Summary of my work

Dr. Ronghou Liu, is a professor in the Department of Resource and Environment, School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). He is also the Director of Biomass Energy Engineering Research Center, School of Agriculture and Biology, SJTU. His main research is in the field of biomass energy engineering, including biomass pyrolysis, biochar, bioethanol, biogas, gasification, characteristics of biomass, etc. He has been teaching and conducting research in the filed of renewable energy science 1984, and has edited 9 books and published over 100 papers in SCI and EI journals. At present, he is an executive member of the Biomass Energy Committee of the Chinese Renewable Energy Society, an executive member of Chinese Biogas Society. He serves as an editorial board member of two SCI and five EI journals, including Fuel Processing Technology (SCI) and International Journal of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (SCI).

He studied at Tsukuba International Center of the Japan International Cooperation Agency in 1995, did his postdoctoral research in the Department of Thermal Science and Energy Engineering at the University of Science and Technology of China from 1997 to 1999. He did visiting research in the Bio-energy Research Group of Aston University in UK from 2000 to 2001 and at Cornell University in the USA as a Tang Scholar for 20 months during 2009 and 2012.

When at Cornell as a Tang Scholar, Professor Liu conducted research on development of pyrolysis technologies for biochar production. He continued his research and technology development in this area. His recent projects are closely relevant to his research conducted at Cornell:

  1. Development of equipment for biomass fast pyrolysis for bio-fuel production and its demonstration in thousand ton scale – supported by the National Science and Technology Supporting Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China from 2011 to 2013 (11.76M Yuan RMB). In this project, a demonstration plant of biomass fast pyrolysis with bio-fuel production 10000 t/a bio-fuel in Shaanxi Province was built jointly with the Shanxi Yingjiliang Company and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Biochar properties were analyzed and biochar was utilized as soil conditioner.
  2. Research on biochar application to improve soil properties – a part of a project supported by the 863 program from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China from 2012-2015 (0.8M Yuan RMB). This project was to study the effect of biochar from fast pyrolysis on pH, soil water retention capacity of acid soil and growth of plant. A biochar spreading machine was designed and manufactured to spread biochar in the field.
  3. Research on mechanism of physical methods to improve quality of bio-fuel from biomass fast pyrolysis – supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China from 2012 to 2015 (0.6M Yuan RMB).
  4. Mechanism of toxicity and detoxification about anaerobic digestion of animal waste for biogas production – supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China from 2014 to 2017, (0.8M Yuan RMB).
  5. Research and demonstration of key technologies for agricultural waste recycling and utilization -- supported by Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality from 2008 to 2011. This project was to study biomass gasification. A pilot-scale gasification unit was built in Shanghai. A UASB reactor was designed and manufactured.        
  6. Participation in the ECOFUEL project, a project is supported by EU in the framework of the EU FP7 project ECOFUEL:EU-China Cooperation for Liquid Fuels from Biomass Pyrolysis (FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IRSES Grant 246772, from 2010 to 2014 (0.6M Euro.).

Impacts in China

The projects on biomass pyrolysis, biochar application for soil improvement, gasification, biogas and agricultural waste recycling will utilize agricultural wastes to produce energy, biochar and fertilizer from biomass. Professor Liu’s group also collaborates with colleagues in the field from the UK and Finland.