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Catalytic hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of biomass for bio-crude production using Ni/HZSM-5 catalysts

1 Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
2 Driftmier Engineering Center, University of Georgia, 597 DW Brooks Drive, Athens, GA 30602, USA
3 Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USA

Topical Section: Environmental Chemistry & Toxicology

Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is an effective method that can convert biomass into bio-crude, but direct use of bio-crude derived from biomass HTL remains a challenge due to the lower quality. In this study, bifunctional Ni/HZSM-5 catalysts and zinc hydrolysis were combined to produce upgraded bio-crude in an in-situ HTL process. The K2CO3 and HZSM-5 catalysts with different Ni loading ratios were tested. The effects of different catalysts on the yield and quality of bio-crude and gas were investigated. The results indicated that the catalysts improved bio-crude and gas yields, compared to pine sawdust liquefaction without catalyst. The catalysts reduced the contents of undesirable oxygenated compounds such as acids, ketones, phenols, alcohols and esters in bio-crude products while increased desirable hydrocarbons content. K2CO3 produced highest bio-crude yield and lowest solid residue yield among all catalysts. Compared to parent HZSM-5 catalyst, bifunctional Ni/HZSM-5 catalysts exhibited higher catalyst activity to improve quality of upgraded bio-crude due to its integration of cracking and hydrodeoxygenation reactions. 6%Ni/HZSM-5 catalyst produced the bio-crude with the highest hydrocarbons content at 11.02%. This catalyst can be a candidate for bio-crude production from biomass HTL.
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