Banana split: biomass splitting with flash light irradiation†
Biomass splitting into gases and solids using flash light irradiation is introduced as an efficient photo-thermal process to photo-pyrolyze dried natural biomass powders to valuable syngas and conductive porous carbon (biochar). The photo-thermal reactions are carried out in a few milliseconds (14.5 ms) by using a high-power Xenon flash lamp. Here, dried banana peel is used as a model system and each kg of dried biomass generates ca. 100 L of hydrogen and 330 g of biochar. Carbon monoxide and some light hydrocarbons are also generated providing a further increase in the high heating value (HHV) with an energy balance output of 4.09 MJ per kg of dried biomass. Therefore, biomass photo-pyrolysis by flash light irradiation is proposed as a new approach not only to convert natural biomass wastes into energy, such as hydrogen, but also for carbon mitigation, which can be stored or used as biochar.