Activated Carbons from Fast Pyrolysis Biochar as Novel Catalysts for the Post-Treatment of Pyrolysis Vapors, Studied by Analytical Pyrolysis

Taina Ohra-aho (Corresponding Author), Christian Lindfors, Juha Lehtonen, Tarja Tamminen, Virpi Siipola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Biochars are attractive materials for carbon catalysts since their carbon content and surface area are relatively high and minerals present in biochar can act as active sites for catalytic reactions. In this study, biochars from the fast pyrolysis of birch, pine, and unbarked willow were activated and acid washed. These materials were tested as catalysts for a post-treatment of pine wood pyrolysis vapors, aiming at stabilizing the vapors before their condensation. All the unmodified biochars had high content of minerals, those being highest in willow due to the bark. After the activation treatments, the surface areas and pore volumes of all biochars significantly increased. All studied biochars and activated carbon catalysts reduced the oxygen content of the pyrolysis degradation products. This effect was more pronounced for compounds derived from polysaccharides vs. lignin. The most promising catalyst for vapor upgrading was unwashed activated carbon from willow, having high surface areas and pore volumes together with high mineral contents. These properties together promoted the high conversion of polysaccharide-derived products (anhydrosugars, acids, and pyrans) into CO2. Release of highly oxidized degradation products may indicate that reductive stabilization takes place via hydrogen migration from the polysaccharide-derivatives to lignin derivatives, mediated by the carbon catalyst.
Original languageEnglish
Article number65
JournalC
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • biochar
  • activated carbon
  • steam activation
  • sulfonation
  • catalyst
  • pyrolysis vapors
  • post-treatment

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