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Liquid-phase Processing of Fast Pyrolysis Bio-oil using Pt/HZSM-5 Catalyst
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Recent developments in converting biomass to bio-chemicals and liquid fuels provide a promising sight to an emerging biofuels industry. Biomass can be converted to energy via thermochemical and biochemical pathways. Thermal degradation processes include liquefaction, gasification, and pyrolysis. Among these biomass technologies, pyrolysis (i.e. a thermochemical conversion process of any organic material in the absence of oxygen) has gained more attention because of its simplicity in design, construction and operation. This research study focuses on comparative assessment of two types of pyrolysis processes and catalytic upgrading of bio-oil for production of transportation fuel intermediates. Slow and fast pyrolysis processes were compared for their respective product yields and properties. Slow pyrolysis bio-oil displayed fossil fuel-like properties, although low yields limit the process making it uneconomically feasible. Fast pyrolysis, on the other hand, show high yields but produces relatively less quality bio-oil. Catalytic transformation of the high-boiling fraction (HBF) of the crude bio-oil from fast pyrolysis was therefore evaluated by performing liquid-phase reactions at moderate temperatures using Pt/HZSM-5 catalyst. High yields of upgraded bio-oils along with improved heating values and reduced oxygen contents were obtained at a reaction temperature of 200°C and ethanol/HBF ratio of 3:1. Better quality, however, was observed at 240 °C even though reaction temperature has no significant effect on coke deposition. The addition of ethanol in the feed has greatly attenuated coke deposition in the catalyst. Major reactions observed are esterification, catalytic cracking, and reforming. Overall mass and energy balances in the conversion of energy sorghum biomass to produce a liquid fuel intermediate obtained sixteen percent (16 wt.%) of the biomass ending up as liquid fuel intermediate, while containing 26% of its initial energy.
Santos, Bjorn Sanchez (2013). Liquid-phase Processing of Fast Pyrolysis Bio-oil using Pt/HZSM-5 Catalyst. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from