Renewable hydrocarbons for jet fuels from biomass and plastics via microwave-induced pyrolysis and hydrogenation processes
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This dissertation aims to enhance the production of aromatic hydrocarbons in the catalytic microwave-induced pyrolysis, and maximize the production of renewable cycloalkanes for jet fuels in the hydrogenation process. In the process, ZSM-5 catalyst as the highly efficient catalyst was employed for catalyzing the pyrolytic volatiles from thermal decomposition of cellulose (a model compound of lignocellulosic biomass). A central composite experiment design (CCD) was used to optimize the product yields as a function of independent factors (e.g. catalytic temperature and catalyst to feed mass ratio). The low-density polyethylene (a mode compound of waste plastics) was then carried out in the catalytic microwave-induced pyrolysis in the presence of ZSM-5 catalyst. Thereafter, the catalytic microwave-induced co-pyrolysis of cellulose with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) was conducted over ZSM-5 catalyst. The results showed that the production of aromatic hydrocarbons was significantly enhanced and the coke formation was also considerably reduced comparing with the catalytic microwave pyrolysis of cellulose or LDPE alone. Moreover, practical lignocellulosic biomass (Douglas fir sawdust pellets) was converted into aromatics-enriched bio-oil by catalytic microwave pyrolysis. The bio-oil was subsequently hydrogenated by using the Raney Ni catalyst. A liquid-liquid extraction step was implemented to recover the liquid organics and remove the water content. Over 20% carbon yield of liquid product regarding lignocellulosic biomass was obtained. Up to 90% selectivity in the liquid product belongs to jet fuel range cycloalkanes. As the integrated processes was developed, catalytic microwave pyrolysis of cellulose with LDPE was conducted to improve aromatic production. After the liquid-liquid extraction by the optimal solvent (n-heptane), over 40% carbon yield of hydrogenated organics based on cellulose and LDPE were achieved in the hydrogenation process. As such, real lignocellulosic biomass with LDPE were transformed into aromatics via co-feed catalytic microwave pyrolysis. It was also found that close to 40% carbon yield of hydrogenated organics were garnered. Based on these outcomes, the reaction kinetics regarding non-catalytic co-pyrolysis and catalytic co-pyrolysis of biomass with plastics were also presented. In addition, the techno-economic analysis of the catalytically integrated processes from lignocellulosic biomass to renewable cycloalkanes for jet fuels was evaluated in the dissertation as well.