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Pietro Postacchini wins a students’ award at EUBCE 2023

Postacchini, a PhD student and member of the Bioenergy & Biofuels LAB team, was recently awarded one of the prizes for presenters at the 31st edition of the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition.

The EUBCE Students Award is a recognition established to promote the quality of work by young researchers. During the closing session of EUBCE 2023, which took place in Bologna from June 5 to 8, six awards were given to students who made a significant contribution to biomass research. Pietro Postacchini, a PhD student from unibz, received the award from Nicolae Scarlat, representative of the European Commission and EUBCE Technical Programme Chair.

“The project for which Pietro Postacchini was honoured involved a laboratory-scale study of biomethane production through the combined biological conversion of biomass waste and biomass-derived gas mixtures. "Biomethane is one of the energy vectors identified by the International Energy Agency and the European Commission as crucial for the energy transition towards carbon neutrality. Biomethane production must drastically increase if we want to achieve the targets set by the Repower EU plan”, says Postacchini.

Indeed, the award-winning research project carried out by Pietro Postacchini and his colleagues at the Bioenergy and Biofuels Lab aims to expand the array of biomass feedstocks that can be economically valorized to biomethane. "We integrated the conversion of syngas, the gaseous product of thermochemical lignocellulosic biomass gasification, with the anaerobic digestion of brewery spent yeast in a single laboratory-scale reactor," explains Postacchini. "We managed to tackle the complexity of the two processes, and it turned out that combining the two streams produces a greater quantity of biomethane per unit volume of the reactor compared to the sole syngas biomethanation."

Postacchini's research represents an initial step towards biogas production using integrated anaerobic digestion with syngas biomethanation. Future studies will focus on optimizing the process to ensure gas production stability over the long-term operation, as well as examining its efficiency and economical performance within a variety of industrial-scale plant configurations.

The title of Postacchini's contribution at EUBCE was “Biomethane Production from the Co-digestion of Biomass-derived Syngas and Brewery Spent Yeast: Experimental Investigation of Mixed Microbial Cultures Adaptation and Continuous Co-digestion” Additional information can be found in the scientific article recently published in the Biochemical Engineering Journal.