Fast Pyrolysis of Hydrolysis Lignin in Fluidized Bed Reactors

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Abstract

Fast pyrolysis of hydrolysis lignin was studied in fluidized bed units. Hydrolysis lignin, a bioproduct from the lignocellulosic ethanol production process (St1 Cellunolix), was processed in bench scale bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) and pilot scale circulating fluidized bed (CFB) units. Utilization of steam and ethanol as hydrogen sources was tested in a BFB unit. Major technical challenges identified were related to slow reaction rates of lignin degradation and the rapid secondary reactions in the vapor phase resulting in deposit formation and pressure buildup in product gas lines. The carbohydrate content of hydrolysis lignin had a clear correlation to its processability. More challenges with clogging and bed agglomeration were observed with lignin feedstock having lower carbohydrate content. The challenges with the bed agglomeration in the BFB unit were overcome by adding a rapidly rotating mixer in the reactor to break the agglomerates. With the CFB unit, bed agglomeration was not a problem, due to high gas velocities and forces applied to sand and lignin particles. In the BFB unit, the screw feeder was cooled and no significant melting problems were observed. In the CFB unit, melting problems were avoided by feeding the raw material in the cold section of reactor. However, severe increases in the pressure buildup and deposit formation rates were observed in both units. Steam and ethanol was tested, separately, in the BFB unit, to provide excess hydrogen in the system. Based on the product analyses both added hydrogen into the system, but hydrogen ended up mostly in the gas phase. To enhance the hydrogen transfer to the organic liquid, a catalyst active in hydrogen transfer is probably needed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy & Fuels
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Sep 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Liquids
  • organic polymers
  • pyrolysis
  • biopolymers
  • water

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