This investigation involved the hydropyrolysis of biomass (eucalyptus globulus) and the immediate catalytic hydrocracking of pyrolytic oils in the second stage of the reactor. The effects of temperature, pressure and the catalyst ageing time on the final product tar have been studied using the catalyst Zeolite H-ZSM5. The catalytically hydrocracked tar/oil products were characterised and compared with the hydropyrolysis product from the first stage of the reactor to determine the effect of catalytic hydrocracking. The carbon deposition on the catalyst has been examined using thermogravimetric analysis. The tar yields after catalytic hydrocracking decreased with increasing pressure and temperature of the cracking stage. The tar yields at 10 bar pressure were greater than those at 40 bar pressure. The fresh zeolite catalyst trapped more than 40% of the product from the hydropyrolysis stage and TGA evidence indicated that this was not as carbon deposition but as volatiles trapped in the zeolite matrix. Reuse of the catalyst resulted in little more uptake of volatiles; however, extended use of the catalyst did not result in increased yields of liquid products but in increased production of light volatiles or gas. The H-ZSM5 catalyst appeared to act as a more active cracking catalyst rather than to promote hydrogenation or deoxygenation of the liquids produced in the hydropyrolysis stage. Characterisation of the liquids by SEC and UV fluoresence indicated that structural changes were relatively minor despite the significant changes in yields of liquids with process conditions. Available reaction routes do not appear to allow specific deoxygenation pathways to predominate without disintegration of parent molecules to lighter volatiles, under the conditions used here. © 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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