Focus Area: Biomass Resources and Conversion Technologies

Research focus in the BRCT initiative relates to the development of sustainable processes for producing energy, fuels, and chemicals derived from biorenewable materials, particularly biomass. The overall goal of this initiative is to provide sustainable technologies for utilization of biorenewable materials to produce products that have been typically derived from non-renewable materials, such as fossil fuels.

The BRCT lab is located in Room 314 and 320 of the Chemical Engineering Building on Villanova University's campus. It opened its doors on August 1st, 2010. This laboratory is part of the Villanova College of Engineering's commitment to continuing research in the most cutting-edge fields. Members of the BCRT Laboratory work on a variety of research the projects focused on experimental, theoretical, and numerical studies. 

Within the ‘supply-chain’ of biomass utilization systems, BCRT’s efforts are focused on the following:

  1. Improvement of Biomass Qualities and Biorefinery Feedstocks
  2. Energy densification of Biomass by Liquefaction
  3. Utilizing/Upgrading Liquefied Biomass (BCO)
  4. Sustainability and Techno-economics Assessments of Biomass Utilization Systems


The BRCT laboratory is equipped with several reactor systems, including a micropyrolyzer, a tubular reactor system, and a high pressure Parr stirred reactor system. A continuous fluidized bed fast pyrolysis reactor system, capable of producing bio-oil at 500g/hr feed rate has been designed and constructed for research and demonstration of fast pyrolysis using various biomass feedstock. The research laboratories are equipped with material preparation apparatus; gas, liquid, and solid analysis systems, including two gas chromatographs, one mass spectrometer, one TGA assembly, flow controllers, one FTIR, one DSC, one on-line IR-type synthesis gas analyzer, a UV-VIS spectrophotometer, data acquisition systems, as well as numerous computers.