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Experimental Study of Subcritical Water Liquefaction of Biomass: Effects of Catalyst and Biomass Species

[+] Author Affiliations
Zhe Zhu

Tianjin University, Tianjin, ChinaAalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Saqib Sohail Toor, Lasse Rosendahl, Donghong Yu

Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Guanyi Chen

Tianjin University, Tianjin, China

Paper No. ES2014-6708, pp. V002T04A016; 7 pages
  • ASME 2014 8th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Volume 2: Economic, Environmental, and Policy Aspects of Alternate Energy; Fuels and Infrastructure, Biofuels and Energy Storage; High Performance Buildings; Solar Buildings, Including Solar Climate Control/Heating/Cooling; Sustainable Cities and Communities, Including Transportation; Thermofluid Analysis of Energy Systems, Including Exergy and Thermoeconomics
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, June 30–July 2, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4587-5
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


In this work, hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of wood industry residues (wood, bark, sawdust) and macroalgae for producing biofuels has been investigated under subcritical water conditions (at temperature of 300 °C), with and without the presence of a catalyst. The effects of catalyst and biomass type (woody and non-woody) on the biomass conversion, bio-crude yield, and the qualities of products were studied. The results suggested that the addition of potassium carbonate as a catalyst showed a positive effect on bio-crude yield, especially for wood, where it was enhanced to 47.48 wt%. Macroalgae showed a higher biomass conversion and a lower bio-crude yield than other woody biomass investigated in the present study, irrespective of whether the catalyst was used. Meanwhile, the effect of catalyst on macroalgae was less significant than that of woody biomass. The heating values and thermal stability of all bio-crudes were analyzed. The results showed that the higher heating values (HHVs) were in the range of 24.15 to 31.79 MJ/kg, and they were enhanced in the presence of a catalyst, except for that of the macroalgae. The solid residues were characterized by heating value, SEM and FTIR. It was found that the addition of K2CO3 lowered the solids quality in terms of the heating values, while it did not have apparent effect on the functional groups of solid residues. SEM analysis of the raw biomass and solid residues revealed that the char formation for wood, sawdust and macroalgae had initially finished when they were treated in hot compressed water at 300 °C, while conversion of bark had not completed yet.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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