Accessing unconventional biofuels via reactions far from local equilibrium

Gao, Yu
Üner, Necip Berker
Thimsen, Elijah
Foston, Marcus B.
The thermochemical production of fuels from lignocellulosic biomass is constrained by equilibrium thermodynamics. However, low temperature plasma reactions are not governed by local equilibrium and involve the formation of unique radical and ion species. Thus, low temperature plasma can open pathways in the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to products not observed in conventional thermochemical processing. In this effort, a novel radio-frequency (RF) plasma-enhanced fluidized bed reactor was utilized for the low temperature plasma deconstruction of lignocellulosic biomass in a hydrogen background gas. Of the reacted biomass in the plasma, 35% of the carbon was converted into hydrocarbons. Specifically, 16.9, 8.2, 9.6, and 0.2% of the reacted carbon from the biomass was converted into CH4, C2Hx, C3Hx, and C4Hx, respectively. With increasing power input, more rapid conversion of biomass was achieved, while the total amount of carbon from the biomass converted into hydrocarbons was similar.


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The requirement of energy constantly increases with time, and one of the major sources of energy is fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide upon combustion. Environmentally, CO2 is a greenhouse gas which has had a tremendous impact on the Earth’s climate over the last few decades and the urges serious mitigation methods for the long-term sustainability of the Earth’s climate and ecosystem. One mitigation method is the dissociation of CO2 to produce synthesis gas which can be used to produce alternative hy...
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Citation Formats
Y. Gao, N. B. Üner, E. Thimsen, and M. B. Foston, “Accessing unconventional biofuels via reactions far from local equilibrium,” FUEL, vol. 226, pp. 472–478, 2018, Accessed: 00, 2022. [Online]. Available: