Thermal conversion of elephant grass (Pennisetum Purpureum Schum) to bio-gas, bio-oil and charcoal

Vladimir Strezov*, Tim J. Evans, Chris Hayman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Elephant grass is an abundant, fast growing plant with significant potential as a renewable energy source and for conversion to higher calorific value fuels. This work investigates thermal conversion of elephant grass to bio-gas, bio-oil and charcoal under two heating rates of 10 and 50 °C/min. The energy required to pyrolyse elephant grass was evaluated using computer aided thermal analysis technique, while composition of the resultant bio-gas and bio-oil products were monitored with gas chromatographic and mass spectroscopic techniques. At 500 °C, the bio-gas compounds consisted primarily of CO2 and CO with small amounts of methane and higher hydrocarbon compounds. The heat of combustion of the bio-gas compounds was estimated to be 3.7-7.4 times higher than the heat required to pyrolyse elephant grass under both heating rates, which confirms that the pyrolysis process can be self-maintained. Faster heating rate was found to increase the amount of liquid products by 10%, while charcoal yields remained almost the same at 30%. The bio-oil mainly consisted of organic acids, phthalate esters, benzene compounds and amides. The amount of organic acids and benzene compounds were significantly reduced at 50 °C/min, while the yields of phthalate esters and naphthalene compounds increased. The difference in bio-oil composition with increased heating rate is believed to be associated with the reduction of the secondary reactions of pyrolysis, which are more pronounced under lower heating rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8394-8399
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume99
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

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