Expanding the biomass resource: sustainable oil production via fast pyrolysis of low input high diversity biomass and the potential integration of thermochemical and biological conversion routes

J. Corton*, I.S. Donnison, M. Patel, L. Bühle, E. Hodgson, M. Wachendorf, A. Bridgwater, G. Allison, M.D. Fraser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Waste biomass is generated during the conservation management of semi-natural habitats, and represents an unused resource and potential bioenergy feedstock that does not compete with food production. Thermogravimetric analysis was used to characterise a representative range of biomass generated during conservation management in Wales. Of the biomass types assessed, those dominated by rush (Juncus effuses) and bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) exhibited the highest and lowest volatile compositions respectively and were selected for bench scale conversion via fast pyrolysis. Each biomass type was ensiled and a sub-sample of silage was washed and pressed. Demineralization of conservation biomass through washing and pressing was associated with higher oil yields following fast pyrolysis. The oil yields were within the published range established for the dedicated energy crops miscanthus and willow. In order to examine the potential a multiple output energy system was developed with gross power production estimates following valorisation of the press fluid, char and oil. If used in multi fuel industrial burners the char and oil alone would displace 3.9 × 105 tonnes per year of No. 2 light oil using Welsh biomass from conservation management. Bioenergy and product development using these feedstocks could simultaneously support biodiversity management and displace fossil fuels, thereby reducing GHG emissions. Gross power generation predictions show good potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-862
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Energy
Volume177
Early online date14 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Funding: EPSRC [Supergen Consortium (EP/E039995)]; European Union Life+ programme via the PROGRASS research consortium (LIFE07 ENV/D/0000222) with additional support from the European Regional Development Funded BEACON project funded through the Welsh European Development Office; and BBSRC (BBS/E/W/10963A01).

Keywords

  • biocrude
  • biomass availability
  • conservation biomass
  • fast pyrolysis
  • integrated processing
  • low input high diversity

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