Pyrolysis of Napier grass to bio-oil and catalytic upgrading to high grade bio-fuel

Mohammed, Isah Yakub (2017) Pyrolysis of Napier grass to bio-oil and catalytic upgrading to high grade bio-fuel. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Biomass is one of the renewable energy resources that has carbon in its building blocks that can be processed into liquid fuel. Napier grass biomass is a herbaceous lignocellulosic material with potentials of high biomass yield. Utilization of Napier grass for bio-oil production via pyrolysis is very limited. Bio-oil generally has poor physicochemical properties such as low pH value, high water content, poor chemical and thermal stabilities which makes it unsuitable for direct use as fuel and therefore requires further processing. Upgrading of bio-oil to liquid fuel is still at early stage of research. Several studies are being carried out to upgrade bio-oil to transportation fuel. However, issues regarding reaction mechanisms and catalyst deactivation amongst others remain a challenge.

This thesis gives insights and understanding of conversion of Napier grass biomass to liquid biofuel. The material was assessed as received and characterized using standard techniques. Pyrolysis was conducted in a fixed bed reactor and effect of pyrolysis temperature, nitrogen flow rate and heating rate on product distribution and characteristics were investigated collectively and pyrolysis products characterized. Effects of different aqueous pre-treatments on the pyrolysis product distribution and characteristics was evaluated. Subsequently, in-situ catalytic and non-catalytic, and ex-situ catalytic upgrading of bio-oil derived from Napier grass using Zeolite based catalysts (microporous and mesoporous) were investigated. Upgraded bio-oil was further fractionated in a micro-laboratory distillation apparatus.

The experimental results showed that high bio-oil yield up to 51 wt% can be obtained from intermediate pyrolysis of Napier grass at 600 oC, 50 oC/min and 5 L/min nitrogen flow in a fixed bed reactor. The bio-oil collected was a two-phase liquid, organic (16 wt%) and aqueous (35 wt%) phase. The organic phase consists mainly of various benzene derivatives and hydrocarbons while the aqueous phase was predominantly water, acids, ketones, aldehydes and some phenolics and other water-soluble organics. Non-condensable gas (29 wt%) was made-up of methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide with high hydrogen/carbon monoxide ratio. Bio-char (20 wt%) was a porous carbonaceous material, rich in mineral elements. Aqueous pre-treatment of Napier grass with deionized water at severity factor of 0.9 reduced ash content by 64 wt% and produced bio-oil with 71 % reduction in acid and ketones. Performance of mesoporous zeolites during both in-situ and ex-situ upgrading outweighed that of microporous zeolite, producing less solid and highly deoxygenated organic bio-oil rich in alkanes and monoaromatic hydrocarbons. The Upgraded bio-oil produced 38 wt% light fraction, 48 wt% middle distillate and 7.0wt% bottom product. This study demonstrated that bio-oil derived from Napier grass can be transformed to that high-grade bio-oil via catalytic upgrading over hierarchical mesoporous zeolite.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Abdalla Abakr, Yousif
Kazi, Feroz Kabir
Yusup, Suzana
Keywords: biomass, Napier grass, pyrolysis, bio-oil, bio-char, non-condensable gas, catalytic upgrading, zeolite, microporous, mesoporous
Subjects: T Technology > TP Chemical technology
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Science and Engineering — Engineering > Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Item ID: 39572
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 08:52
Last Modified: 08 May 2020 10:15

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