Hugh McLaughlin, PE


Hugh McLaughlin, PhD, PE has a professional consulting practice in Chemical Engineering. In that capacity, he is an expert on the properties and production of chars, created by pyrolyzing biomass, and the subsequent conversion to activated carbons. One of the devices that incorporates many of these interests is the TLUD micro-gasifier, which is a leading technology in providing cleaner and lower cost indoor cooking devices.

Dr. McLaughlin is interested in developing and promoting a suite of "CHAB" devices (Combined Heat And Biochar), where low value and waste biomass is converted into useable heat and biochar, instead of ash as the exiting solid. A TLUD is one such CHAB device, but the spectrum of other applications, centered around household energy consumption, needs to be developed and disseminated.

Organization Type Independent Consultant

Contact Information

Primary Contact
Dr. Hugh McLaughlin
Secondary Contact

Address 151 Hill Road
Groton, MA
United States
Website n/a
Phone 978-448-6414
Fax 978-448-6414
Calling/Fax Instructions call ahead before faxing - or pdf fax and send to email

Our Focus

Primary Initiatives, Target Populations, and Scope of Work:

Dr. McLaughlin is currently on the Board of the Biomass Energy Foundation and participating in their development of "Stove and CHAB Camps" as a technical resource and instructor. He would also like to pursue additional opportunities that are less directly aligned with the charter of the BEF. Specifically, he would like to develop "open architecture" designs of CHAB devices, with the technology being adapted to local conditions and capabilities by other PCIA members.

Fuels/Technologies: Biomass
TLUD technolgy, biomass to energy and biochar
Sectors of Experience: Energy
Renewable Energy
expert on char and activated carbon properties and production
Countries of Operation: United States

Our Experience And Interest In The Four PCIA Central Focus Areas

Social/Cultural barriers to using traditional fuels and stoves:

I believe in the BEF approach that is called "CAF-DAH", which stands for "Culture - Application - Fuels" and "Device - Acceptance - Hope". Neither I nor BEF believe that bringing in a stove from the outside solves enough problems - and even creates them by circumventing cultural input and local buy-in.

Market development for improved cooking technologies:

I think the market can only be reached with a scalable open architecture dissemination of technical features that can be adapted to local circumstances. I want to contribute the technical features, since it is not practical for me to approach the multitude of markets. Organizations with "boots on the ground" can utilize my contributions and run with them.

Technology standardization for cooking, heating and ventilation:

I think my open architecture approach speaks to the standardization of technical features, but not local implementations. The number of superfluous features that are promoted as grand advantages in current commercial designs is alarming and unjustified.

Indoor air pollution exposure and health monitoring:

I understand monitoring, but have never participated directly in the exercise. I worry that many monitoring techniques bury technical bias in the monitoring method, which subsequently favors one stove design over others - but may not reflect the real world performance and potential of the units. The WBT and the clear bias to high thermal mass rocket stoves is one such example of a test designed around the device, not the application.

Relevant Publications or Studies

Chapters 6, 7 and 8 of "The Biochar Revolution", a recent book on biochar technology and practice.

Our Contribution to the Partnership

I anticipate that the PCIA will serve to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas - both others stimulating my understanding and my providing input for the education and utilization of others. My technical background occasionally gives me insights to specific situations that are less obvious to individuals without my technical training and professional history.