Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Mark Mba-Wright


This study evaluates the process for converting biomass into transportation fuel and diesel for power generation to produce carbon-negative energy. Various methodologies such as process modeling, techno-economic analysis (TEA), sensitivity analysis, and uncertainty analysis were used to evaluate the commercialization feasibility of two conversion technologies: liquefaction and auto thermal pyrolysis.

This thesis comprises two studies organized by chapters based on the journal manuscripts. Two methods of biofuel conversation methods are investigated. The 1st study is a techno-economic analysis of solvent liquefaction using a blend of biomass-derived solvent and petroleum-derived hydrogen donor solvents. The 2nd study is the techno-economic analysis of biomass for dispatchable renewable power via autothermal pyrolysis. For the 1st study, I develop a model to evaluate the cost of converting pinewood into drop-in transportation fuel through solvent liquefaction. I compared the economic performance and uncertainties for different solvent liquefaction solvents. For the 2nd study, I develop a model to evaluate the cost of converting red cedar into a diesel fuel substitute through auto thermal pyrolysis (ATP) to produce electricity by firing a diesel engine.

These studies provide a discussion of the TEA of solvent liquefaction and ATP which are bioenergy platforms that could produce carbon-negative energy. The developed and proposed models in this thesis will help further our understanding of biomass conversion processes and their commercialization potential. Furthermore, this study helps develop future biorefineries that are low cost, efficient, and sustainable.


Copyright Owner

Ranuka Sandaruwan Gunathilaka Gallolu Kanakanamalage



File Format


File Size

97 pages