Dr. J. Andy Soria

RBH Lab

(Picture on the left is an unaltered image of a sunset from the doorsteps of the facility)

The Renewable-Based Hydrocarbon Laboratory (RBH), a part of the Palmer Center for Sustainable Living, is a proof-of-concept laboratory dedicated to investigating novel and nascent technologies for transforming biomass into petroleum like hydrocarbons to meet sustainability goals.


The primary focus of RBH is to use thermochemical conversion techniques to transform forest, agricultural, protein and waste biomass into combustible gases through gasification and liquid matrices through pyrolysis and liquefaction techniques.


The proof of concept idea has extended to the laboratory itself, where we are walking the talk in our use of renewable based hydrocarbons. Since July 2009, the RBH facility has been generating its own electrical power and transportation fuel using the products of our reactions. 

Summer internship programs have helped students gain a better understanding of the state of technology and has given a new generation of students the ability to get their hands dirty and gain valuable practical experience in conversion methods that may play a significant role in our future energy and materials portfolio.

The RBH Lab is complemented by the teaching/distance delivery center,  instrumentation and wood chemistry facilities at the Palmer Center for Sustainable Living. Available tools include:


    Agilent 6890+ FID Gas Chromatogram

    Agilent 5973 quadrupole mass spectra

    SGE pyrolyzer unit

    Thermo Electron HPLC system with photodiode array and refractive index detectors

    LECO carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen elemental analyzer

    IKA C-200 oxygen bomb calorimeter

    Rotary evaporator and separation glassware

    Extraction apparatus, and related wood chemistry equipment.



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