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Thermo-catalytic reforming of alberta-based biomass feedstock to produce biofuels

: Gill, M.; Kurian, V.; Kumar, A.; Stenzel, F.; Hornung, A.; Gupta, R.


Biomass and bioenergy 152 (2021), Art. 106203
ISSN: 0961-9534
Journal Article
Fraunhofer UMSICHT Sulzbach-Rosenberg ()

The depletion of fossil fuels as well as the greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use have led to growing interest in biofuel production from biomass. A new technology, thermo-catalytic reforming (TCR), is one of the contributing interests. TCR technology integrates intermediate pyrolysis with a post-reforming stage to convert biomass into a high-quality bio-oil, biochar, and syngas. In this study, experiments were carried out using three Alberta-based biomass feedstocks - hardwood pellets, softwood pellets, and chips - in a 2 kg h-1 laboratory-scale TCR plant. The results show that the composition of the biomass has little effect on product yield and quality. The TCR gases had a higher heating value of 12.5-12.8 MJ kg-1 and a hydrogen content of 13-15 vol %. The produced TCR bio-oil had low water content (~5 wt %) and a heating value of 32-34 MJ kg-1. The high quality of the bio-oil is reflected in the low O/C ratio of 0.15 and TAN of 6-15 mg KOH g−1. The TCR biochar from all three feedstocks had a high heating value and a high carbon content, as well as low O/C and H/C ratios. A parametric study was conducted for the softwood pellets to observe the effect of reformer temperature (500-700 °C) and reactor temperature (400-550 °C). It was observed that at a reformer temperature of 700 °C, the gas yield increases at the expense of a reduction in bio-oil and biochar. The optimum reactor temperature for the TCR of softwood pellets was found to be 500 °C, in terms of both bio-oil quality and yield.