A predictive physico-chemical model of biochar oxidation

Andrea Locaspi, Paulo Amaral Debiagi, Matteo Pelucchi, Christian Hasse, Tiziano Faravelli

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Pyrolysis of solid fuels forms a solid carbon-rich fuel, also called char, whose physico-chemical description is rather complex. Heterogeneous oxidation reactions take place during thermochemical conversion of char. The present work proposes a predictive detailed kinetic model, opening a new path for a deeper understanding of the char conversion process. This model considers porosity, surface area, density of surface sites, and their evolution along the conversion process. The chemical aspects of char oxidation are modeled assuming a carbonaceous bulk structure, surrounded by a variety of surface sites which represent the chemical functionalities typically present in such materials. The heterogeneous chemical reactions and their kinetic parameters are defined based on previous studies in the literature and by analogy to homogeneous gas-phase reactions of aromatic species. A mathematical framework is proposed to couple physical and chemical descriptions of the oxidation process. Although the proposed model benefits from experimental information, it is able to comprehensively describe the conversion rate of a broad range of carbonaceous materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphite, and chars only on the basis of their elemental composition. The proposed model represents a first step in exploring the explicit and coupled treatment given to the physical and chemical evolution of the fuel throughout its conversion, allowing us to consistently describe the particle evolution, opening a path for reliable models to manage the chemistry of char conversion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14894-14912
Number of pages19
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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