In situ catalytic upgrading of bio-oil using supported molybdenum carbide


The aim of this work is to improve some of the less desirable properties of bio-oil via the catalytic fast pyrolysis of sugarcane bagasse using a novel supported molybdenum carbide (20 wt.% Mo2C/Al2O3) catalyst. Proximate and elemental analysis of the bagasse were carried out to determine the moisture, ash, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen content. The ground pellets were classified in sieves to a size range of 0.25–1 mm and were pyrolysed in a 300 g h−1 fluidised bed reactor at 500 °C. Mo2C/Al2O3 replaced the sand in the fluidised bed reactor in different proportions (0 wt.%, 12 wt.%, 25 wt.% and 50 wt.%) to investigate the effect of this catalyst on the pyrolysis products. Bio-oil yield results showed that ground sugarcane bagasse pellets gave high organic yields in the bio-oil of 60.5 wt.% on dry feed with a total liquid yield of 73.1 wt.% on dry feed without catalyst. Increasing the catalyst proportions in the fluidised bed reduced bio-oil yields, significantly reduced sugars (as α-levoglucosan) concentration and increased furanics and phenolics concentration in the bio-oil. It was observed that the higher the concentration of the 20 wt.% Mo2C/Al2O3 catalyst in the fluidised bed the lower the viscosity of the bio-oil.

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