Research & development

With our unique mix of well-equipped facilities and leading scientific and engineering staff, we’re experts in developing innovative solutions to the many thermo-chemical questions asked when looking into the areas of clean energy.

Three core proficiencies support our research and development - fundamental science, applied science and engineering and problem-solving.

Collaboration is an important dimension of our research because it creates synergies and efficiencies in developing new ideas and approaches that advance innovation and discovery. We actively seek opportunities to transfer our technologies to the marketplace through licensing, joint research, joint venture companies, and other pathways.

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Research & development

Carbonisation

We have two carbonisers to target specific product species. One for biomass applications (bagasse, bio-solids, seaweed, wood, etc.) working at temperatures of below 400°C and one for coals working at temperatures up to 1000°C. We can ascertain the conversion mode that produces highest yields of biochar; processes to increase energy density of biomass; and improvements to storage and handling properties of solid products.

Clean Energy

New Zealand renewable energy resources offer the potential to develop a near-zero carbon electricity system. The concept is to integrate the use of mineral resources (coal) and biomass resources available for bioenergy or biofuel production by use of cogasification of coal with biomass, utilising intermittent renewable electric power for electrolysis to produce oxygen to increase gasification efficiency, and hydrogen as a chemical, fuel, or storable energy source. If achieved, this proposed system would allow New Zealand to achieve its goal of a predominantly renewable electricity power system with large-scale efficiency.

International Research Programmes

Verum Group participates as a delegate (through New Zealand membership) in several collaborative international research programmes, established as Implementing Agreements under the International Energy Agency (IEA). This allows access to a wide range of international researchers, companies and research organisations that have a common interest in the research topic and enables New Zealand to be at the leading edge in a many of the key new energy technologies.

  • International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuels cells in the Economy (IPHE)
  • IEA Clean Coal Centre
  • IEA Greenhouse Gas Research and Development Programme (IEA GHG)
  • IMWA International Mine Water Association
Other Research Areas

At Verum Group, many of our team are creative and curious problem solvers so we have an interest in a wide variety of topics. Here are some other research areas we’re involved in:

  • Trace metals - their distribution and modes of occurrence
  • Geotechnical Research
  • Thermochemical conversion (biomass and coal)
  • Solid Fuel Combustion
  • Spontaneous combustion
  • Coking coal research
Greenhouse Gas Management

We are proud of the excellent reputation our work has earned in the climate change consultancy and research area. Our existing clients include some of the top major energy producers and users in New Zealand. With a strong understanding of the environmental regulatory framework, we offer cost-efficient and effective solutions to the multifaceted challenges faced by today’s industries.

Membranes

We have the ability to test bed gas separation membranes, catalysts, and materials. We can provide real syngas (coal, biomass, or a mix), to pass through gas separation membranes, and catalysts allowing performance to be ascertained under controlled yet real conditions, providing reassurance that they will perform as required when in service.

Combustion

Our 50kW scale combustion unit simulates as closely as possible a very wide range of combustion-related conditions at an industrial scale. Performed in accordance with international methods, testing is carried out at controlled conditions to determine combustion properties of solid fuels and their emissions. These properties include their ease of ignition, potential for slagging and fouling, and their particulate and gaseous emissions. Other variables such as oxygen and carbon monoxide content, various temperatures, air flow, and feed rates are all recorded.

Materials

Our team includes materials and corrosion scientists and engineers with extensive industry and research and development experience. Our research focuses mainly on the area of high temperature degradation mechanisms of metals however, we also can provide specialized consulting and research into ceramics, coatings, and surface treatments. Projects include:

  • Metal Dusting
  • High temperature corrosion in industrial environments between 450-900°C and up to 50 bar
  • Corrosion in aggressive environments: H2S, HCl, O2, CO, CO2
  • Materials selection and conformance and compatibility
Torrefaction

Torrefaction is the mode of thermochemical conversion that produces the highest yields of energy in the solid product. Torrefaction provides the smallest increase in energy density but the resultant fuel is resistant to water and degradation and is more easily ground into a pulverised fuel. These properties allow the formation of stable high-energy-density pellet fuels. The enhanced grindability also makes the process well suited for adding biomass-derived fuel into existing coal-fired power plants and entrained flow gasifiers. Torrefaction can also be used to develop advanced soil-enhancement products from biochar mixed with other components.

Pyrolysis

Slow pyrolysis is the mode of thermochemical conversion that produces the highest yields of biochar. A laboratory-scale fluidised-bed pyrolyser for biomass pyrolysis is now operational for coal or lignite pyrolysis. Smaller-scale slow pyrolysis can be done using standard laboratory equipment.