Benjamin Bronson

Image Benjamin Bronson
Research Engineer

As a Research Engineer I am responsible for planning and performing applied research related to the thermochemical conversion of sustainable biomass to fuels, energy, and chemicals. This includes acting as a design authority for novel bench- and pilot-scale experimental systems; organizing projects, investigations, and studies of biomass conversion in these systems; and supervising the maintenance and operation of these systems.

Current research and/or projects

I focus broadly on the transformation of sustainable, raw biomass (such as forestry residues) into useable fuels and energy products through thermochemical conversion. Thermochemical conversion includes combustion, torrefaction, pyrolysis (slow, fast, and everything in between), hydrothermal conversion, and gasification. Presently, my major focus is fast pyrolysis, a process which converts solid biomass into a high yield of dark liquid called fast pyrolysis bio-oil (or "bio-oil" for short). Bio-oil can be used for many applications which include burning it in a furnace for the production of heat. Although bio-oil can be used in some instances in a similar manner to a liquid fossil fuel, it is, from a chemical perspective, very unique. This introduces new challenges and opportunities. The research that I do focusses on: understanding the process and how feedstock selection influences bio-oil properties, coming up with practical solutions to address some of the unique challenges of bio-oil, and how to capitalize on some of the unique opportunities of bio-oil.

Research and/or project statements

Development and Optimization of Multi-product Biorefinery Processes

Interactions of Forest Resources and Conversion Processes

Professional activities / interests

Developping innovative solutions for the economic and environmental benefit of Canadians

Education and awards

B.A.Sc Chemical Engineering, University of Ottawa, 2011

M.A.Sc Chemical Engineering, University of Ottawa, 2014

Key publications

Robinson, T., Bronson, B., Gogolek, P., Mehrani, P. Sample preparation for thermo-gravimetric determination and thermo-gravimetric characterization of refuse derived fuel. Waste Management, 48 265-275 (2016)

Bronson, B. Gogolek, P., Mehrani, P., Preto, F. Experimental Investigation of the Effect of Physical Pre-treatment on Air-blown Fluidized Bed Biomass Gasification. Biomass and Bioenergy, 88, 77-88 (2016)

Robinson, T., Bronson, B., Gogolek, P., Mehrani, P. Air-blown bubbling fluidized bed co-gasification of woody biomass and refuse derived fuel.  Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 95, 55-61 (2017)

Matta, J. Bronson, B., Gogolek, P.E.G., Mazerolle, D., Thibault, J., Mehrani, P.  Comparison of multi-component kinetic relations on bubbling fluidized-bed woody biomass fast pyrolysis reactor model performance. Fuel, 210, 625-638 (2017)

Mazerolle, D., Rezaei, H., Bronson, B., Nguyen, L., & Preto, F. Sieving and acid washing as a pretreatment to fast pyrolysis of a high ash hog fuel. Energy & Fuels, 33(6), 5352-5359 (2019)