Physical and chemical properties of bio-oils from microwave pyrolysis of corn stover

Fei Yu, Shaobo Deng, Paul L Chen, Yuhuan Liu, Yiqin Wan, Andrew Olson, David B Kittelson, R. R Ruan

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143 Scopus citations


This study was aimed to understand the physical and chemical properties of pyrolytic bio-oils produced from microwave pyrolysis of corn stover regarding their potential use as gas turbine and home heating fuels. The ash content, solids content, pH, heating value, minerals, elemental ratio, moisture content, and viscosity of the bio-oils were determined. The water content was approx 15.2 wt%, solids content 0.22 wt%, alkali metal content 12 parts per million, dynamic viscosity 185 mPa·s at 40°C, and gross high heating value 17.5 MJ/kg for a typical bio-oil produced. Our aging tests showed that the viscosity and water content increased and phase separation occurred during the storage at different temperatures. Adding methanol and/or ethanol to the bio-oils reduced the viscosity and slowed down the increase in viscosity and water content during the storage. Blending of methanol or ethanol with the bio-oils may be a simple and cost-effective approach to making the pyrolytic bio-oils into a stable gas turbine or home heating fuels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-970
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number1-12
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by University of Minnesota IREE and Center for Biorefining and China Ministry of Education PCIRT Program (IRT0540).


  • Aging
  • Bio-oils
  • Chemical behavior
  • Microwave pyrolysis
  • Physical behavior
  • Stability


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