Phenolic-rich bio-oil production by microwave catalytic pyrolysis of switchgrass: Experimental study, life cycle assessment, and economic analysis

Badr A. Mohamed, Muhammad Bilal, El Sayed Salama, Selvakumar Periyasamy, I. M.Rizwanul Fattah, Roger Ruan, Mukesh Kumar Awasthi, Lijian Leng

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5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aims to determine the environmental impacts and feasibility of optimizing the production of phenolic-rich bio-oil, via switchgrass microwave catalytic pyrolysis. K3PO4 (Tripotassium phosphate) was used as the catalyst, at different temperatures, throughout this life cycle assessment (LCA) study. Results were compared with non-catalytic microwave pyrolysis (SiC-400) and conventional pyrolysis. K3PO4 (KP) was used as the microwave absorber and catalyst to enhance the low microwave absorption of switchgrass during microwave pyrolysis, and to improve the bio-oil quality and selectivity for phenolics production. Pyrolysis temperatures made a considerable difference to the LCA. There was an 86% reduction in the pyrolysis time when heating the sample to 300 °C (KP-300), as compared to 400 °C (KP-400), resulting in a significant reduction of the amount of energy required, and GHG's emitted. The total global warming potential (GWP) for microwave catalytic pyrolysis is observed within 159–223 kg CO2-eq/1000 kg of dried switchgrass (SG), with the baseline case (SiC-400) being the highest, and KP-300 being the lowest. Using the produced biochar, which is rich in nutrients for soil application, brings the net GWP to negative values through carbon sequestration. KP-300 also showed the highest selectivity for phenol and alkylphenols production, which increased by 252% and 420% respectively, compared to the baseline. The results clearly indicate that introducing K3PO4 showed great potential for accelerating microwave heating, and improving bio-oil selectivity towards alkylphenols, which can be used to replace petroleum-based phenol. This in turn can reduce GHG emissions, due to higher conversion efficiencies and lower energy consumption compared with non-catalytic microwave pyrolysis and conventional pyrolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number132668
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume366
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 15 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for financial support from the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education in the form of a research scholarship. Thanks to Dr. Xiaotao Bi for providing the research facilities. Thanks extend to Drs Balal Yousaf and Safdar Bashir for their help in revising the text.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Catalytic microwave pyrolysis optimization
  • KPO
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Phenolic-rich bio-oil
  • Switchgrass

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