Research School » Research School PLUS » Funded Projects » VIPs » VIPs - Bergthorson/Scherer

Metal Combustion

Prof. Jeffrey Bergthorson
McGill University, Canada


Prof. Viktor Scherer
Energy Plant Technology

Recent Activities

Bochum PHD students met with Prof. Bergthorson at the Mediterranean Combustion Symposium in Naples September 2017 for intensive discussions.

Dr. Martin Schiemann has formulated an ERC starting grant which is based on the metal fuel idea. The proposal gained quality through intensive discussion Jeffrey Bergthorson. The proposal is submitted and the result is expected spring 2018.

The next visit of Jeff will take place during the Second International Workshop on Oxyfuel Combustion taking place in Bochum in February. He will give a presentation at the workshop and accompanying discussions with PhD students are planned in the week from February 12 to 17th.

Second visit of Jeff Bergthorson at Ruhr University of Bochum

As part of the second visit of Prof. Bergthorson (20th to 22nd June 2016) he was member of the Board of Examiners for Peter Fischer, who successfully defended his doctoral thesis with the title Experimentelle und numerische Untersuchungen zur Verbrennung von Lithiumpartikeln in Kohlendioxid und Stickstoff (English: Experimental and numerical investigation of the combustion of lithium particles in carbon dioxide and nitrogen). In the following discussions further ideas were developed to use metal fuels in industrial processes.
Together with Dr. Martin Schiemann (Department of Energy Plant Technology, RUB), who visited Prof. Bergthorson at McGill University in October 2015 and April 2017, the concept of metal fuel utilization was expanded to processes are designed to produce metal oxides for industrial applications. In such processes metal fuels replace part of the fossil fuels used, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption with simultaneous increase in product output. One example was presented at the European Combustion Meeting in 2017.

The next interaction of Prof. Bergthorson with Bochum PhD students is planned for September 2017 at the European Combustion symposium to be held in Naples, Italy. It is also foreseen that Prof. Bergthorson will participate in the 2nd International Workshop on Oxy-Fuel Combustion which will take place in Bochum in February 2018. This workshop visit will be combined with extensive discussions with Bochum PhD students.

Visit of Jeff Bergthorson at Ruhr University of Bochum


During his first visit in Bochum (18th to 20th February) Jeffrey gave a seminar for PhD students on “harnessing the energy in metal fuels for low carbon heat and power”. The key idea is that metal powders can be burned with air to generate heat that can then be used for power generation, similar to how coal, oil or gas are used today. The products of metal combustion, solid metal oxides, can be captured from the exhaust and can be recycled to the pure metal state using renewable energy. The energy density of metals fuels is higher than of traditional fossil hydrocarbon fuels. During combustion they do not produce gaseous carbon dioxide as hydrocarbons but solid ashes which can be easily captured and recycled. This makes metals to attractive fuel candidates of a closed carbon-free energy cycle.
During the visit of Prof. Bergthorson discussions with PhD students, who are working on metals fuels in Bochum, were arranged. Areas of further potential cooperation were discussed and a joint research road map has been developed.

Metals Fuels Workshop at Eindhoven University

On 17 February 2016 a workshop on metal fuels was held at Eindhoven University. The workshop was organized by Prof. Philip de Goey from Eindhoven and Prof. Jeffrey Bergthorson under the participation of the Ruhr-University of Bochum. Around 40 participants from academia and industry discussed the options of metal fuels as an energy carrier and the potential to initiate joint activities. As a result of the Workshop a EC Horizon proposal MEZECAPO has been formulated and submitted to the EC under the coordination of RUB in 2017. The evaluation was excellent but due to the tough competition failed in getting funded. Together with Jeff Bergthorson and Prof. de Goy, Eindhoven, we are in preparation for the next Horizon 2020 proposal on Metal Fuels to be submitted in 2018.


A. Panahi, M. Schiemann, P. Julien, E. Rokni, J.M. Bergthorson, Y.A. Levendis, Combustion behavior of single particles of iron in a drop tube furnace. Proc Combust Inst 2018;submitted.

M. Schiemann, J.M. Bergthorson, P.H. Fischer, Iron particles as carbon-neutral fuel in spray roasting reactors, in: Eur. Combust. Meet., 2017.

M. Schiemann, P. Fischer, J.M. Bergthorson, G. Schmid, D. Taroata, Experimental investigations on the combustion of lithium particles in CO2 and CO2-N2 mixtures, Fuel. 199 (2017) 28–37.

M. Schiemann, J.M. Bergthorson, V. Scherer, D. Taroata, G. Schmid. Metal fuels for carbon-neutral energy processes, in: 6th Int. Symp. Energy Challenges Mech., 2016.

M. Schiemann, P. Fischer, J. Bergthorson, G. Schmid, D. Taroata, Combustion of Lithium Particles in N2 —Reaction Rates, Combust. Sci. Technol. (2016) 00102202.2016.1196200.

M. Schiemann, J.M. Bergthorson, P. Fischer, V. Scherer, D. Taroata, G. Schmid, A Review on Lithium Combustion, Applied Energy 162, 2016, 948-965