Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.

Issue 12, 2014
Previous Article Next Article

Upgrading biomass pyrolysis vapors over β-zeolites: role of silica-to-alumina ratio

Author affiliations


The conversion of biomass primary pyrolysis vapors over several β-zeolites with silica-to-alumina ratios (SAR) varying from 21 to 250 was carried out in a flow microreactor to investigate the effect of number of acid sites on product speciation and deactivation of the catalyst. Experiments were conducted using a horizontal fixed bed semi-batch reactor in which up to 40 discrete 50 mg boats of biomass were pyrolyzed and the vapors upgraded over 0.5 g of the catalyst. Products were measured with a molecular beam mass spectrometer (MBMS). These studies were complemented using a tandem micropyrolyzer connected to a GCMS (py-GCMS) for speciation and quantifying the products. In the py-GCMS experiments, several 0.5 mg loads of pine were pyrolyzed sequentially and the vapors upgraded over 4 mg of catalyst. In all of these experiments, real-time measurements of the products formed were conducted as the catalyst aged and deactivated during upgrading. The results from these experiments showed that: (1) fresh catalyst for β-zeolites with lower SAR (more acid sites) produced primarily aromatic hydrocarbons and olefins with no detectable oxygen-containing species; (2) a suite of oxygenated products was observed from fresh catalysts with high SAR (few acid sites), indicating that 0.5 g of these catalyst materials did not have sufficient acid sites to deoxygenate vapors produced from pyrolysis of 50 mg of pine. This suite of oxygen containing products consisted of furans, phenol and cresols. The amount of coke deposited on each catalyst and the yield of aromatic hydrocarbons increased with the number of acid sites. However, while the catalysts were active, the biomass selectivity towards coke and hydrocarbons remained essentially constant on the catalysts of varying SAR.

Graphical abstract: Upgrading biomass pyrolysis vapors over β-zeolites: role of silica-to-alumina ratio

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information

25 Jul 2014
09 Sep 2014
First published
10 Sep 2014

Green Chem., 2014,16, 4891-4905
Article type
Author version available

Upgrading biomass pyrolysis vapors over β-zeolites: role of silica-to-alumina ratio

C. Mukarakate, M. J. Watson, J. ten Dam, X. Baucherel, S. Budhi, M. M. Yung, H. Ben, K. Iisa, R. M. Baldwin and M. R. Nimlos, Green Chem., 2014, 16, 4891
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC01425A

Social activity

Search articles by author