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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Production and characterization of bio-oil from catalytic fast pyrolysis in a fluidized bed reactor Sohani, Ketaki


Development of alternate energy sources is needed to fulfil the global energy demands that have been steadily increasing over time. Biomass provides a solution due to its abundant availability, high energy content, and multi-faceted usage. Pyrolyzing biomass produces syngas, bio-oil, and char with their ratio of formation depending on temperature, residence time, and, heating rate. Conducting fast pyrolysis to produce bio-oil is the focus of this project. Currently, bio-oil can be produced with relatively low heating value, high acid number, and high viscosity compared to diesel. The use of a catalyst for fast pyrolysis was explored to study the effect on quality of bio-oil. In this work, ilmenite is considered as a catalyst for bio-oil pyrolysis and its impact on the product quality is assessed. Biomass pyrolysis is conducted in a bubbling fluidized bed reactor. The experimental setup consists of a feeding system, reactor vessel and product collection system. A pneumatic conveyor system using nitrogen is used to feed the ground biomass into the reactor. Biomass enters the fluidized reactor where it then volatilizes and forms a mixture of condensable gases, non-condensable gases and char. A multi-stage condenser is utilized to collect three separate stages depending on the condensation temperature. Reaction temperature and percentage of catalyst in the bed of the reactor were investigated. The produced bio-oil was characterized based on the acid number, water content, viscosity, elemental analysis, and heating value. The hypothesis was that catalyst and fractional condensation will increase the heating value of bio-oil by removing oxygenate compounds. The results showed that heating value, viscosity and acid number were affected by the oxygen to carbon ratio (O/C) and water content in the oil fractions, which indicates that the catalyst had an effect. Water content and O/C ratio decreased as the catalyst weight percentage and temperature increased. Ilmenite shows promising results in improving the quality of bio-oil as fuel but further experimentation is required to statistically support the effect of the catalyst.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International