Feedstock Pretreatment

Both physical and chemical biomass pretreatments have a powerful influence on the resulting chemical species for both ethanol and pyrolysis oil production. Only limited research is available on the influence of bio-oil chemical properties from application of biomass pretreatment methods prior to performance of pyrolysis. Very little systematic research has been performed to determine hte influence of particle size on bio-oil characteristics. Comminution by grinding and steam explosion are both effective particle reduction methods.

In this project four biomass feestocks, pinewood, sweet gum, corn stover, and switchgrass, will be subjected to particle comminution by both steam explosion and grinding. Sieving will classify particles into a minimum of three sizes. Four acid and four base treatments will be performed on each particle size to determine influence on bio-oil chemical speciation.

Biomass speciments will be tested before and after pretreatments. Bio-oils will be produced and analyzed chemically and physically. For those pretreatments that shift the chemical composition of the bio-oils, the biomass specimens will be characterized accordingly.