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Issue 9, 2012
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Low-temperature combustion chemistry of biofuels: pathways in the initial low-temperature (550 K–750 K) oxidation chemistry of isopentanol

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Abstract

The branched C5 alcohol isopentanol (3-methylbutan-1-ol) has shown promise as a potential biofuel both because of new advanced biochemical routes for its production and because of its combustion characteristics, in particular as a fuel for homogeneous-charge compression ignition (HCCI) or related strategies. In the present work, the fundamental autoignition chemistry of isopentanol is investigated by using the technique of pulsed-photolytic Cl-initiated oxidation and by analyzing the reacting mixture by time-resolved tunable synchrotron photoionization mass spectrometry in low-pressure (8 Torr) experiments in the 550–750 K temperature range. The mass-spectrometric experiments reveal a rich chemistry for the initial steps of isopentanol oxidation and give new insight into the low-temperature oxidation mechanism of medium-chain alcohols. Formation of isopentanal (3-methylbutanal) and unsaturated alcohols (including enols) associated with HO2 production was observed. Cyclic ether channels are not observed, although such channels dominate OH formation in alkane oxidation. Rather, products are observed that correspond to formation of OHvia β-C–C bond fission pathways of QOOH species derived from β- and γ-hydroxyisopentylperoxy (RO2) radicals. In these pathways, internal hydrogen abstraction in the RO2 ⇄ QOOH isomerization reaction takes place from either the –OH group or the C–H bond in α-position to the –OH group. These pathways should be broadly characteristic for longer-chain alcohol oxidation. Isomer-resolved branching ratios are deduced, showing evolution of the main products from 550 to 750 K, which can be qualitatively explained by the dominance of RO2 chemistry at lower temperature and hydroxyisopentyl decomposition at higher temperature.

Graphical abstract: Low-temperature combustion chemistry of biofuels: pathways in the initial low-temperature (550 K–750 K) oxidation chemistry of isopentanol

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Oct 2011, accepted on 03 Jan 2012 and first published on 05 Jan 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2CP23248K
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012,14, 3112-3127
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    Low-temperature combustion chemistry of biofuels: pathways in the initial low-temperature (550 K–750 K) oxidation chemistry of isopentanol

    O. Welz, J. Zádor, J. D. Savee, M. Y. Ng, G. Meloni, R. X. Fernandes, L. Sheps, B. A. Simmons, T. S. Lee, D. L. Osborn and C. A. Taatjes, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012, 14, 3112
    DOI: 10.1039/C2CP23248K

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