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Issue 7, 2008
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Millisecond autothermal steam reforming of cellulose for synthetic biofuels by reactive flash volatilization

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Abstract

Three biomass-to-liquid process steps (volatilization of cellulose, tar-cleaning of organic products, and water-gas-shift of the gaseous effluent) have been integrated into a single autothermal catalytic reactor for the production of high quality synthesis gas at millisecond residence times (∼30 ms). Particles of cellulose (∼300 μm) were directly impinged upon the hot, catalytic bed of Rh–Ce/γ-Al2O3 catalyst on 1.3 mm α-Al2O3 spheres in the presence of O2, N2, and steam in a continuous flow fixed-bed reactor at 500–1100 °C. Complete conversion to gases was observed for all experimental parameters including N2/O2, S/C, the total flow rate of cellulose, and the fuel-to-oxygen ratio (C/O). The addition of steam increased the selectivity to H2 and decreased the selectivity to CO in agreement with water-gas-shift equilibrium. Optimal conditions produced a clean gaseous effluent which exhibited ∼80% selectivity to H2 at a synthesis gas ratio of H2/CO = 2.3 with no dilution from N2 at a fuel efficiency of ∼75%. Carbon-free processing was explained by relating the domain of experimental parameters to the thermodynamic prediction for the formation of solid carbon, CS.

Graphical abstract: Millisecond autothermal steam reforming of cellulose for synthetic biofuels by reactive flash volatilization

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Mar 2008, accepted on 25 Apr 2008, published on 02 Jun 2008 and first published online on 02 Jun 2008


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B804691C
Citation: Green Chem., 2008,10, 773-783
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    Millisecond autothermal steam reforming of cellulose for synthetic biofuels by reactive flash volatilization

    J. L. Colby, P. J. Dauenhauer and L. D. Schmidt, Green Chem., 2008, 10, 773
    DOI: 10.1039/B804691C

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