Pyrolytic conversion of cellulose to fuels: Levoglucosan deoxygenation via elimination and cyclization within molten biomass

Matthew S. Mettler, Alex D. Paulsen, Dionisios G. Vlachos, Paul J. Dauenhauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fast pyrolysis of biomass thermally cracks solid biopolymers to generate a transportable liquid (bio-oil) which can be upgraded and integrated with the existing petroleum infrastructure. Understanding how the components of biomass, such as cellulose, break down to form bio-oil constituents is critical to developing successful biofuels technologies. In this work, we use a novel co-pyrolysis technique and isotopically labeled starting materials to show that levoglucosan, the most abundant product of cellulose pyrolysis (60% of total), is deoxygenated within molten biomass to form products with higher energy content (pyrans and light oxygenates). The yield of these products can be increased by a factor of six under certain reaction conditions, e.g., using long condensed-phase residence times encountered in powder pyrolysis. Finally, co-pyrolysis experiments with deuterated glucose reveal that hydrogen exchange is a critical component of levoglucosan deoxygenation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7864-7868
Number of pages5
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Volume5
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

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Cyclization
Cellulose
pyrolysis
Molten materials
cellulose
Biomass
Pyrolysis
biomass
Oils
Pyrans
Biopolymers
Biofuels
oil
Petroleum
biofuel
Powders
Glucose
Hydrogen
residence time
glucose

Cite this

Pyrolytic conversion of cellulose to fuels : Levoglucosan deoxygenation via elimination and cyclization within molten biomass. / Mettler, Matthew S.; Paulsen, Alex D.; Vlachos, Dionisios G.; Dauenhauer, Paul J.

In: Energy and Environmental Science, Vol. 5, No. 7, 01.07.2012, p. 7864-7868.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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