Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

biomass conversion Related Abstracts

5 Efficient Utilization of Biomass for Bioenergy in Environmental Control

Authors: Subir Kundu, Sukhendra Singh, Sumedha Ojha, Kanika Kundu


The continuous decline of petroleum and natural gas reserves and non linear rise of oil price has brought about a realisation of the need for a change in our perpetual dependence on the fossil fuel. A day to day increased consumption of crude and petroleum products has made a considerable impact on our foreign exchange reserves. Hence, an alternate resource for the conversion of energy (both liquid and gas) is essential for the substitution of conventional fuels. Biomass is the alternate solution for the present scenario. Biomass can be converted into both liquid as well as gaseous fuels and other feedstocks for the industries.

Keywords: Bioenergy, Biorefining, biomass conversion, efficient utilisation of night soil

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4 Polymer Impregnated Sulfonated Carbon Composite as a Solid Acid Catalyst for the Dehydration of Xylose to Furfural

Authors: Praveen K. Khatri, Neha Karanwal, Savita Kaul, Suman L. Jain


Conversion of biomass through green chemical routes is of great industrial importance as biomass is considered to be most widely available inexpensive renewable resource that can be used as a raw material for the production of bio fuel and value-added organic products. In this regard, acid catalyzed dehydration of biomass derived pentose sugar (mainly D-xylose) to furfural is a process of tremendous research interest in current scenario due to the wider industrial applications of furfural. Furfural is an excellent organic solvent for refinement of lubricants and separation of butadiene from butene mixture in synthetic rubber fabrication. In addition it also serve as a promising solvent for many organic materials, such as resins, polymers and also used as a building block for synthesis of various valuable chemicals such as furfuryl alcohol, furan, pharmaceutical, agrochemicals and THF. Here in a sulfonated polymer impregnated carbon composite solid acid catalyst (P-C-SO3H) was prepared by the pyrolysis of a polymer matrix impregnated with glucose followed by its sulfonation and used for the dehydration of xylose to furfural. The developed catalyst exhibited excellent activity and provided almost quantitative conversion of xylose with the selective synthesis of furfural. The higher catalytic activity of P-C-SO3H may be due to the more even distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons generated from incomplete carbonization of glucose along the polymer matrix network, leading to more available sites for sulfonation which resulted in greater sulfonic acid density in P-C-SO3H as compared to sulfonated carbon catalyst (C-SO3H). In conclusion, we have demonstrated sulfonated polymer impregnated carbon composite (P-C-SO3H) as an efficient and selective solid acid catalyst for the dehydration of xylose to furfural. After completion of the reaction, the catalyst was easily recovered and reused for several runs without noticeable loss in its activity and selectivity.

Keywords: biomass conversion, Solid acid, Xylose Dehydration, Heterogeneous catalyst

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3 Real-Time Monitoring of Complex Multiphase Behavior in a High Pressure and High Temperature Microfluidic Chip

Authors: Renée M. Ripken, Johannes G. E. Gardeniers, Séverine Le Gac


Controlling the multiphase behavior of aqueous biomass mixtures is essential when working in the biomass conversion industry. Here, the vapor/liquid equilibria (VLE) of ethylene glycol, glycerol, and xylitol were studied for temperatures between 25 and 200 °C and pressures of 1 to 10 bar. These experiments were performed in a microfluidic platform, which exhibits excellent heat transfer properties so that equilibrium is reached fast. Firstly, the saturated vapor pressure as a function of the temperature and the substrate mole fraction of the substrate was calculated using AspenPlus with a Redlich-Kwong-Soave Boston-Mathias (RKS-BM) model. Secondly, we developed a high-pressure and high-temperature microfluidic set-up for experimental validation. Furthermore, we have studied the multiphase flow pattern that occurs after the saturation temperature was achieved. A glass-silicon microfluidic device containing a 0.4 or 0.2 m long meandering channel with a depth of 250 μm and a width of 250 or 500 μm was fabricated using standard microfabrication techniques. This device was placed in a dedicated chip-holder, which includes a ceramic heater on the silicon side. The temperature was controlled and monitored by three K-type thermocouples: two were located between the heater and the silicon substrate, one to set the temperature and one to measure it, and the third one was placed in a 300 μm wide and 450 μm deep groove on the glass side to determine the heat loss over the silicon. An adjustable back pressure regulator and a pressure meter were added to control and evaluate the pressure during the experiment. Aqueous biomass solutions (10 wt%) were pumped at a flow rate of 10 μL/min using a syringe pump, and the temperature was slowly increased until the theoretical saturation temperature for the pre-set pressure was reached. First and surprisingly, a significant difference was observed between our theoretical saturation temperature and the experimental results. The experimental values were 10’s of degrees higher than the calculated ones and, in some cases, saturation could not be achieved. This discrepancy can be explained in different ways. Firstly, the pressure in the microchannel is locally higher due to both the thermal expansion of the liquid and the Laplace pressure that has to be overcome before a gas bubble can be formed. Secondly, superheating effects are likely to be present. Next, once saturation was reached, the flow pattern of the gas/liquid multiphase system was recorded. In our device, the point of nucleation can be controlled by taking advantage of the pressure drop across the channel and the accurate control of the temperature. Specifically, a higher temperature resulted in nucleation further upstream in the channel. As the void fraction increases downstream, the flow regime changes along the channel from bubbly flow to Taylor flow and later to annular flow. All three flow regimes were observed simultaneously. The findings of this study are key for the development and optimization of a microreactor for hydrogen production from biomass.

Keywords: Phase diagrams, biomass conversion, high pressure and high temperature microfluidics, multiphase, superheating

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2 Optimization of the Feedstock Supply of an Oilseeds Conversion Unit for Biofuel Production in West Africa: A Comparative Study of the Supply of Jatropha curcas and Balanites aegyptiaca Seeds

Authors: Linda D. F. Bambara, Marie Sawadogo


Jatropha curcas (jatropha) is the plant that has been the most studied for biofuel production in West Africa. There exist however other plants such as Balanites aegyptiaca (balanites) that have been targeted as a potential feedstock for biofuel production. This biomass could be an alternative feedstock for the production of straight vegetable oil (SVO) at costs lower than jatropha-based SVO production costs. This study aims firstly to determine, through an MILP model, the optimal organization that minimizes the costs of the oilseeds supply of two biomass conversion units (BCU) exploiting respectively jatropha seeds and the balanitès seeds. Secondly, the study aims to carry out a comparative study of these costs obtained for each BCU. The model was then implemented on two theoretical cases studies built on the basis of the common practices in Burkina Faso and two scenarios were carried out for each case study. In Scenario 1, 3 pre-processing locations ("at the harvesting area", "at the gathering points", "at the BCU") are possible. In scenario 2, only one location ("at the BCU") is possible. For each biomass, the system studied is the upstream supply chain (harvesting, transport and pre-processing (drying, dehulling, depulping)), including cultivation (for jatropha). The model optimizes the area of land to be exploited based on the productivity of the studied plants and material losses that may occur during the harvesting and the supply of the BCU. It then defines the configuration of the logistics network allowing an optimal supply of the BCU taking into account the most common means of transport in West African rural areas. For the two scenarios, the results of the implementation showed that the total area exploited for balanites (1807 ha) is 4.7 times greater than the total area exploited for Jatropha (381 ha). In both case studies, the location of pre-processing “at the harvesting area” was always chosen for scenario1. As the balanites trees were not planted and because the first harvest of the jatropha seeds took place 4 years after planting, the cost price of the seeds at the BCU without the pre-processing costs was about 430 XOF/kg. This cost is 3 times higher than the balanites's one, which is 140 XOF/kg. After the first year of harvest, i.e. 5 years after planting, and assuming that the yield remains constant, the same cost price is about 200 XOF/kg for Jatropha. This cost is still 1.4 times greater than the balanites's one. The transport cost of the balanites seeds is about 120 XOF/kg. This cost is similar for the jatropha seeds. However, when the pre-processing is located at the BCU, i.e. for scenario2, the transport costs of the balanites seeds is 1200 XOF/kg. These costs are 6 times greater than the transport costs of jatropha which is 200 XOF/kg. These results show that the cost price of the balanites seeds at the BCU can be competitive compared to the jatropha's one if the pre-processing is located at the harvesting area.

Keywords: Optimization, biomass conversion, jatropha curcas, Balanites aegyptiaca, post-harvest operations

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1 Integrated Two Stage Processing of Biomass Conversion to Hydroxymethylfurfural Esters Using Ionic Liquid as Green Solvent and Catalyst: Synthesis of Mono Esters

Authors: Komal Kumar, Sreedevi Upadhyayula


In this study, a two-stage process was established for the synthesis of HMF esters using ionic liquid acid catalyst. Ionic liquid catalyst with different strength of the Bronsted acidity was prepared in the laboratory and characterized using 1H NMR, FT-IR, and 13C NMR spectroscopy. Solid acid catalyst from the ionic liquid catalyst was prepared using the immobilization method. The acidity of the synthesized acid catalyst was measured using Hammett function and titration method. Catalytic performance was evaluated for the biomass conversion to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) and levulinic acid (LA) in methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)-water biphasic system. A good yield of 5-HMF and LA was found at the different composition of MIBK: Water. In the case of MIBK: Water ratio 10:1, good yield of 5-HMF was observed at ambient temperature 150˚C. Upgrading of 5-HMF into monoesters from the reaction of 5-HMF and reactants using biomass-derived monoacid were performed. Ionic liquid catalyst with -SO₃H functional group was found to be best efficient in comparative of a solid acid catalyst for the esterification reaction and biomass conversion. A good yield of 5-HMF esters with high 5-HMF conversion was found to be at 105˚C using the best active catalyst. In this process, process A was the hydrothermal conversion of cellulose and monomer into 5-HMF and LA using acid catalyst. And the process B was the esterification followed by using similar acid catalyst. All monoesters of 5-HMF synthesized here can be used in chemical, cross linker for adhesive or coatings and pharmaceutical industry. A theoretical density functional theory (DFT) study for the optimization of the ionic liquid structure was performed using the Gaussian 09 program to find out the minimum energy configuration of ionic liquid catalyst.

Keywords: biomass conversion, ionic liquid, HMF ester

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