282006 Effects of Hydrolysis and Torrefaction On Pyrolysis Product Distribution of Spent Mushroom Compost (SMC)

Thursday, November 1, 2012: 4:05 PM
335 (Convention Center )
Rene Garrido, Maria Nydia Ruiz-Felix and Justinus A. Satrio, Chemical Engineering, Villanova University, Villanova, PA

Energy based in biomass is a source of renewable energy from organic and inorganic matter formed in a biological or mechanical process. Although fossil fuels, such as petroleum, oil and coal, have their foundation in ancient biomass, they have been “out” of the carbon cycle for a long time. Their combustion consequently disturbs the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.

Lignocellulosic biomass can be classified as natural (without human intervention), residual (by-product of waste generated by agricultural activities, forestry, and industry wood processing), and energy-based crops (for the production of biofuels); it is the only carbon-containing renewable energy source. The complex structure of lignocellulosic biomass has been extensively studied and poses highly valuable carbohydrates (cellulose and hemicelluloses) and lignin, whereas there is a substantial challenge to the large-scale biomass utilization. The carbohydrate polymers are strongly bound to the lignin, which makes the separation process technically difficult.

While it is scientifically viable to exploit lignocellulosic materials and organic wastes into energy, chemicals and fuels, the commercial production is far from an economical process and the cost needs to be lowered. It also must be demonstrated that a commercial scale biomass utilization process is environmentally sound, and there is a need to find an inexpensive and widely available lignocellulosic source of biomass

This study investigates the potential use of a unique biomass material, produced from mushroom farms, known as spent mushroom compost (SMC) as a biomass-based energy feedstock. It was found that, even though SMC has a highly probability for bio-oil conversion its high moisture content and high ash content in feedstock results in low yield and quality of bio-oil. The removal of these recalcitrants is a key element to make SMC a desirable feedstock for biomass conversion. This investigation has revealed that using torrefaction and hydrolysis for SMC treatment after pyrolysis shows a higher yield with a wider product distribution after the combined pre-treatments proposed.

Analytical pyrolysis combined with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (Py-GCMS) is used to study the chemical composition of volatile products from previously hydrolyzed and torrefied biomass. Effects of the severity level of hydrolysis pre-treatment and torrefaction temperatures on the chemical composition and yield distribution of the fast pyrolysis products will be evaluated. The chemical composition study of pyrolyzed biomass would then aid in the understanding of the chemistry behind the different compounds to further enhance the process of upgrading bio-crude oil. By this, ground work is laid as a preliminary attempt to understand SMC as a potential energy feedstock.

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