Microwave-induced co-processing of coal and biomass

  • Jiefeng Yan

    Student thesis: PhD Thesis


    Pyrolysis is an attractive alternative for the conversion of solid fuels to valuable chemicals and bio-fuels. In order to obtain more H2 and syngas from pyrolysis of coal and biomass, microwave has been adopted to enhance the co-pyrolysis of coal and biomass, which has been investigated systematically in this study. Firstly, conventional pyrolysis of coal and biomass was carried out using a vertical tube furnace. Characterizations of pyrolytic gas, liquid and solid products were conducted to study the different properties of products from the pyrolysis of coal and biomass. More gas products were produced at higher temperatures and biomass samples produced more H2 and syngas than coals. Bio-oils produced from conventional pyrolysis of biomass samples have relatively simpler compositions compared with those produced from conventional pyrolysis of coals. Char samples produced from conventional pyrolysis of coal and biomass samples show different morphologies due to the different nature of original coal and biomass. Secondly, microwave-induced pyrolysis of coal and biomass was carried out and compared with the results of conventional pyrolysis. Microwave-induced pyrolysis was found to produce pyrolytic gas products with higher contents of H2 and syngas than conventional pyrolysis. The bio-oils produced from microwave-induced pyrolysis were not as complicated as those from conventional pyrolysis. The reason for this is believed to be that both microwave irradiation and the longer residence time favour more complete decomposition of large hydrocarbon molecules in coal and biomass, which subsequently results in less complicated composition compared with bio-oil produced via conventional pyrolysis. Char samples from microwave-induced pyrolysis undergo more complete pyrolysis than char samples from conventional pyrolysis, and results in less volatiles remaining. Because of the thermal annealing process by microwave at the later stage of pyrolysis, char samples produced by microwave-induced pyrolysis have higher peak temperatures and burnout temperatures than those produced by conventional pyrolysis. In char samples prepared via microwave-induced pyrolysis of coal and biomass, special structures are found, such as nano-scale fibers in char samples from gumwood and pine, spheres in char samples from coals as well as coal and biomass blends. Based on the analysis of energy balance, it is evident that microwave-induced pyrolysis is a cost-effective and energy saving method for solid fuel conversion.
    Date of Award15 Nov 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Univerisity of Nottingham
    SupervisorTao Wu (Supervisor) & Edward Lester (Supervisor)

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