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Uncatalysed and potassium-catalysed pyrolysis of the cell-wall constituents of biomass and their model compounds

Nowakowski, DJ and Jones, JM (2008) Uncatalysed and potassium-catalysed pyrolysis of the cell-wall constituents of biomass and their model compounds. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis, 83 (1). 12 - 25 . ISSN 0165-2370


Cell-wall components (cellulose, hemicellulose (oat spelt xylan), lignin (Organosolv)), and model compounds (levoglucosan (an intermediate product of cellulose decomposition) and chlorogenic acid (structurally similar to lignin polymer units)) have been investigated to probe in detail the influence of potassium on their pyrolysis behaviours as well as their uncatalysed decomposition reaction. Cellulose and lignin were pretreated to remove salts and metals by hydrochloric acid, and this dematerialized sample was impregnated with 1% of potassium as potassium acetate. Levoglucosan, xylan and chlorogenic acid were mixed with CH3COOK to introduce 1% K. Characterisation was performed using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential thermal analysis (DTA). In addition to the TGA pyrolysis, pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (PY–GC–MS) analysis was introduced to examine reaction products. Potassium-catalysed pyrolysis has a huge influence on the char formation stage and increases the char yields considerably (from 7.7% for raw cellulose to 27.7% for potassium impregnated cellulose; from 5.7% for raw levoglucosan to 20.8% for levoglucosan with CH3COOK added). Major changes in the pyrolytic decomposition pathways were observed for cellulose, levoglucosan and chlorogenic acid. The results for cellulose and levoglucosan are consistent with a base catalysed route in the presence of the potassium salt which promotes complete decomposition of glucosidic units by a heterolytic mechanism and favours its direct depolymerization and fragmentation to low molecular weight components (e.g. acetic acid, formic acid, glyoxal, hydroxyacetaldehyde and acetol). Base catalysed polymerization reactions increase the char yield. Potassium-catalysed lignin pyrolysis is very significant: the temperature ofmaximum conversion in pyrolysis shifts to lower temperature by 70 K and catalysed polymerization reactions increase the char yield from 37% to 51%. A similar trend is observed for the model compound, chlorogenic acid. The addition of potassium does not produce a dramatic change in the tar product distribution, although its addition to chlorogenic acid promoted the generation of cyclohexane and phenol derivatives. Postulated thermal decomposition schemes for chlorogenic acid are presented.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Mechanism, Catalysis, Pyrolysis, Lignocellulose, Biomass, Potassium
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Chemical & Process Engineering (Leeds) > Energy Research Institute (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2011 11:20
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 03:56
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaap.2008.05.007
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jaap.2008.05.007
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43122

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