The characterisation and optimisation of modified herbaceous grasses for identifying pyrolisis-oil quality traits

Fahmi, Romani (2008). The characterisation and optimisation of modified herbaceous grasses for identifying pyrolisis-oil quality traits. PHD thesis, Aston University.

Abstract

The primary objective of this work is to relate the biomass fuel quality to fast pyrolysis-oil quality in order to identify key biomass traits which affect pyrolysis-oil stability. During storage the pyrolysis-oil becomes more viscous due to chemical and physical changes, as reactions and volatile losses occur due to aging. The reason for oil instability begins within the pyrolysis reactor during pyrolysis in which the biomass is rapidly heated in the absence of oxygen, producing free radical volatiles which are then quickly condensed to form the oil. The products formed do not reach thermodynamic equilibrium and in tum the products react with each other to try to achieve product stability. The first aim of this research was to develop and validate a rapid screening method for determining biomass lignin content in comparison to traditional, time consuming and hence costly wet chemical methods such as Klason. Lolium and Festuca grasses were selected to validate the screening method, as these grass genotypes exhibit a low range of Klason /Acid Digestible Fibre lignin contents. The screening methodology was based on the relationship between the lignin derived products from pyrolysis and the lignin content as determined by wet chemistry. The second aim of the research was to determine whether metals have an affect on fast pyrolysis products, and if any clear relationships can be deduced to aid research in feedstock selection for fast pyrolysis processing. It was found that alkali metals, particularly Na and K influence the rate and yield of degradation as well the char content. Pre-washing biomass with water can remove 70% of the total metals, and improve the pyrolysis product characteristics by increasing the organic yield, the temperature in which maximum liquid yield occurs and the proportion of higher molecular weight compounds within the pyrolysis-oil. The third aim identified these feedstock traits and relates them to the pyrolysis-oil quality and stability. It was found that the mineral matter was a key determinant on pyrolysis-oil yield compared to the proportion of lignin. However the higher molecular weight compounds present in the pyrolysis-oil are due to the lignin, and can cause instability within the pyrolysis-oil. The final aim was to investigate if energy crops can be enhanced by agronomical practices to produce a biomass quality which is attractive to the biomass conversion community, as well as giving a good yield to the farmers. It was found that the nitrogen/potassium chloride fertiliser treatments enhances Miscanthus qualities, by producing low ash, high volatiles yields with acceptable yields for farmers. The progress of senescence was measured in terms of biomass characteristics and fast pyrolysis product characteristics. The results obtained from this research are in strong agreement with published literature, and provides new information on quality traits for biomass which affects pyrolysis and pyrolysis-oils.

Divisions: Engineering & Applied Sciences > Chemical engineering & applied chemistry
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: pyrolysis-oil stability,Klason/ADF lignin,biomass pyrolysis characterisation
Completed Date: 2008-01-10
Authors: Fahmi, Romani

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