Reverse Water Gas Shift Chemistry and Catalytic Oxidative Reforming of Volatile Organics Derived From Boiling Intermediate Cellulose

Tuesday, November 9, 2010: 3:36 PM
Grand Ballroom F (Marriott Downtown)
Paul J. Dauenhauer, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA

Advanced catalytic process technologies developed for direct conversion of biomass to synthetic chemicals and fuels will require innovative techniques to integrate fast pyrolysis chemistry with high temperature inorganic catalysts. This combination will permit tunable chemistry that minimizes char formation and directs pyrolysis to specific chemical compounds favorable for the production of fuels. Using catalytic exothermic oxidation integrated with endothermic pyrolysis, cellulose-derived volatile oxygenates can be reformed to synthesis gas in a single, fixed-bed reactor. High speed photography reveals the thermal mechanism of cellulose decomposition through an intermediate liquid state that exhibits violent boiling on high temperature catalytic surfaces. The intermediate liquid is observed to wet the surface maximizing thermal and chemical interaction between the pyrolyzing biomass and the oxidation catalyst. Additionally, droplets are observed to form volatile organics through rapid boiling. Co-feeding of carbon dioxide and methane are demonstrated to simultaneously favor reverse water gas shift chemistry and hydrogen generation thereby producing complete conversion of biomass to carbon monoxide.

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