Acid-Catalyzed Liquefaction of Biomasses from Poplar Clones for Short Rotation Coppice Cultivations

Molecules. 2022 Jan 4;27(1):304. doi: 10.3390/molecules27010304.

ABSTRACT

Liquefaction of biomass delivers a liquid bio-oil with relevant chemical and energetic applications. In this study we coupled it with short rotation coppice (SRC) intensively managed poplar cultivations aimed at biomass production while safeguarding environmental principles of soil quality and biodiversity. We carried out acid-catalyzed liquefaction, at 160 °C and atmospheric pressure, with eight poplar clones from SRC cultivations. The bio-oil yields were high, ranging between 70.7 and 81.5%. Average gains of bio-oil, by comparison of raw biomasses, in elementary carbon and hydrogen and high heating, were 25.6, 67, and 74%, respectively. Loss of oxygen and O/C ratios averaged 38 and 51%, respectively. Amounts of elementary carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen in bio-oil were 65, 26, and 8.7%, and HHV averaged 30.5 MJkg-1. Correlation analysis showed the interrelation between elementary carbon with HHV in bio-oil or with oxygen loss. Overall, from 55 correlations, 21 significant and high correlations among a set of 11 variables were found. Among the most relevant ones, the percentage of elementary carbon presented five significant correlations with the percentage of O (-0.980), percentage of C gain (0.902), percentage of O loss (0.973), HHV gain (0.917), and O/C loss (0.943). The amount of carbon is directly correlated with the amount of oxygen, conversely, the decrease in oxygen content increases the elementary carbon and hydrogen concentration, which leads to an improvement in HHV. HHV gain showed a strong positive dependence on the percentage of C (0.917) and percentage of C gain (0.943), while the elementary oxygen (-0.885) and its percentage of O loss (0.978) adversely affect the HHV gain. Consequently, the O/C loss (0.970) increases the HHV positively. van Krevelen’s analysis indicated that bio-oils are chemically compatible with liquid fossil fuels. FTIR-ATR evidenced the presence of derivatives of depolymerization of lignin and cellulose in raw biomasses in bio-oil. TGA/DTG confirmed the bio-oil burning aptitude by the high average 53% mass loss of volatiles associated with lowered peaking decomposition temperatures by 100 °C than raw biomasses. Overall, this research shows the potential of bio-oil from liquefaction of SRC biomasses for the contribution of renewable energy and chemical deliverables, and thereby, to a greener global economy.

PMID:35011536 | PMC:PMC8746395 | DOI:10.3390/molecules27010304

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