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Issue 1, 2011
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Production of green aromatics and olefins by catalytic fast pyrolysis of wood sawdust

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Abstract

Catalytic fast pyrolysis of pine wood sawdust and furan (a model biomass compound) with ZSM-5 based catalysts was studied with three different reactors: a bench scale bubbling fluidized bed reactor, a fixed bed reactor and a semi-batch pyroprobe reactor. The highest aromatic yield from sawdust of 14% carbon in the fluidized bed reactor was obtained at low biomass weight hourly space velocities (less than 0.5 h−1) and high temperature (600 °C). Olefins (primarily ethylene and propylene) were also produced with a carbon yield of 5.4% carbon. The biomass weight hourly space velocity and the reactor temperature can be used to control both aromatic yield and selectivity. At low biomass WHSV the more valuable monocyclic aromatics are produced and the formation of less valuable polycyclic aromatics is inhibited. Lowering the reaction temperature also results in more valuable monocyclic aromatics. The olefins produced during the reaction can be recycled to the reactor to produce additional aromatics. Propylene is more reactive than ethylene. Co-feeding propylene to the reactor results in a higher aromatic yield in both continuous reactors and higher conversion of the intermediate furan in the fixed bed reactor. When olefins are recycled aromatic yields from wood of 20% carbon can be obtained. After ten reaction–regeneration cycles there were metal impurities deposited on the catalyst, however, the acid sites on the zeolite are not affected. Of the three reactors tested the batch pyroprobe reactor yielded the most aromatics, however, the aromatic product is largely naphthalene. The continuous reactors produce less naphthalene and the sum of aromatics plus olefin products is higher than the pyroprobe reactor.

Graphical abstract: Production of green aromatics and olefins by catalytic fast pyrolysis of wood sawdust

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Aug 2010, accepted on 22 Sep 2010 and first published on 26 Oct 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0EE00341G
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2011,4, 145-161
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    Production of green aromatics and olefins by catalytic fast pyrolysis of wood sawdust

    T. R. Carlson, Y. Cheng, J. Jae and G. W. Huber, Energy Environ. Sci., 2011, 4, 145
    DOI: 10.1039/C0EE00341G

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