Chemical and structural characterization of char development during lignocellulosic biomass pyrolysis

Lihle D. Mafu, Hein W.J.P. Neomagus*, Raymond C. Everson, Christien A. Strydom, Marion Carrier, Gregory N. Okolo, John R. Bunt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The chemical and structural changes of three lignocellulosic biomass samples during pyrolysis were investigated using both conventional and advanced characterization techniques. The use of ATR-FTIR as a characterization tool is extended by the proposal of a method to determine aromaticity, the calculation of both CH2/CH3 ratio and the degree of aromatic ring condensation ((R/C)u). With increasing temperature, the H/C and O/C ratios, XA and CH2/CH3 ratio decreased, while (R/C)u and aromaticity increased. The micropore network developed with increasing temperature, until the coalescence of pores at 1100 °C, which can be linked to increasing carbon densification, extent of aromatization and/or graphitization of the biomass chars. WAXRD-CFA measurements indicated the gradual formation of nearly parallel basic structural units with increasing carbonization temperature. The char development can be considered to occur in two steps: elimination of aliphatic compounds at low temperatures, and hydrogen abstraction and aromatic ring condensation at high temperatures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-948
Number of pages8
JournalBioresource Technology
Early online date6 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • aromaticity
  • biochar
  • pyrolysis


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