Catalytic conversion of beech wood pyrolytic vapors

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Authors: Alexandre Margeriat, Alissa Bouzeggane, Chantal Lorentz, Dorothée Laurenti, Nolven Guilhaume, Claude Mirodatos, Christophe Geantet, Yves Schuurman


Catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) of beech wood chips was undertaken in a laboratory-scale fixed bed reactor equipped with a biomass semi-continuous dispenser. During pyrolysis, chars are retained on a quartz frit and the pyrolytic vapors are entrained through a fixed-bed catalyst to be converted. Several acidic catalysts such as zeolites H-Beta, zeolite HMFI and 5% Ni supported on HMFI were screened in this equipment. The Ni/HMFI catalyst was also tested in the presence of 1 vol.% of hydrogen in the feed stream. Mass and carbon balances were carefully checked and the gas, liquids and solids fractions were analyzed in-depth to evaluate the impact of the catalyst compared to thermal conversion. In the presence of a catalyst, with a low catalyst-to-biomass ratio of 0.1, a lower amount of bio-oil was formed but it contained less oxygen. The bio-oils were characterized by bi-dimensional GC (GCxGC) coupled with MS and FID detectors. The amount of gaseous products also increased in the presence of all catalysts. In addition of the deoxygenation, gel-permeation chromatography (GPC) showed a decrease of the highest molecular masses in the bio-oil after catalytic treatment, which confirms the conversion of some oligomers. The presence of Ni enhanced the deoxygenation reactions while the addition of H2 is also beneficial to the bio-oil composition.

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