280553 Production of Activated Carbon From Fast Pyrolysis Biochar

Thursday, November 1, 2012: 5:20 PM
408 (Convention Center )
Bernardo G. del Campo, CSET, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, Robert C. Brown, Mechanical Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, David Laird, Iowa State University, Ames, IA and Laura R. Jarboe, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Fast pyrolysis, a thermochemical conversion of biomass, is rapidly developing. This technology focuses on the production of bio-oil, biochar and non-condensable gases for transportation fuels, chemicals, and energy. Fast pyrolysis yields approximately 10-20% biochar by mass, which is currently being explored as an agricultural soil amendment. However, one approach to developing value-added biochar products with potentially great economic and environmental benefits is the upgrading of biochar to activated carbon. The goal of this project is to produce activated carbon from fast pyrolysis biochar and use it for cleaning syngas from fast pyrolysis, as well as to detoxify the water-soluble fraction of bio-oil for the microbial production of biofuels. Different chemical (strong acid, bases and alkali carbonates) and physical (steam, carbon dioxide and ozone) treatments will be further explored to increase biochar surface area, porosity and adsorption capabilities. Preliminary results for detoxifying aqueous bio-oil extracts with biochar and activated carbon to produce rich bacterial growth media showed that activated carbon is a potent detoxifier, while biochar (without activation) is only moderately effective. A techno-economic analysis will also be performed to understand the impact of the carbon activation process on the internal rate of return of the fast pyrolysis platform.

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