Catalytic microwave pyrolysis of biomass using activated carbon (AC) was investigated to determine the effects of pyrolytic conditions on the yields of phenol and phenolics. Bio-oils with high concentrations of phenol (38.9%) and phenolics (66.9%) were obtained. These levels were higher than those obtained by pyrolysis without AC addition and were closely related to the decomposition of lignin. A high concentration of esters (42.2% in the upgraded bio-oil) was obtained in the presence of Zn powder as catalyst and formic acid/ethanol as reaction medium. Most of the esters identified by GC-MS were long chain fatty acid esters. The high content of phenols and esters obtained in this study can be used as partial replacement of petroleum fuels after separation of oxygenates or as feedstock for organic syntheses in the chemical industry after purification.
- Activated carbon
- Microwave pyrolysis