Catalytic conversion of microwave-assisted pyrolysis vapors

B. Zhang, C. Yang, J. Moen, Z. Le, K. Hennessy, Y. Wan, Y. Liu, H. Lei, P. Chen, Roger Ruan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The effect of the following catalysts: MS (Molecular sieve) 4A, Fe 2O3/MS 4A, CoO/MS 4A, NiO/MS 4A, MgO/MS 4A, PtO/MS 4A, Al2O3/MS 4A, La2O3/MS 4A, Cl -/MS 3A, SO42-/MS 3A, Na2O/MS 3A, CaO/MS 3A, K2O/MS 3A, CoO/ZrO2, NiO/ZrO2, La2O3/ZrO2, NiO/CaO-ZrO2, Cl -/ZrO2, SO42-/ZrO2, Na2O/ZrO2, CaO/ZrO2, and MgO/ZrO2, on chemical profile of the products from microwave-assisted pyrolysis of biomass was studied. A microwave oven with a frequency of about 2.4 gigahertz, and a power of about 1-1.3 kilowatt was used to pyrolyze aspen (Populus tremuloides). The steam that evolved was removed from the oven and passed to a catalyst column where the temperature was controlled at about 350-600°C, and the converted vapors were then condensed to bio-oils. The chemical profiles of the bio-oils were determined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Solid acids were proved to be effective catalysts to decompose pyrolysis vapors, while solid alkaline and other catalysts do not seem to affect the composition of the liquid products from microwave-assisted pyrolysis. Increasing the temperature of the catalyst bed and the ratio of catalysts to biomass adversely affected the liquid yield.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1756-1762
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization and Environmental Effects
Issue number18
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from the Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment and Center for Biorefining at the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, US DOT/Sun Grant Initiative, and China Ministry of Education PCSIRT Program (IRT0540).


  • catalytic conversion
  • microwave-assisted
  • pyrolysis vapor
  • solid acid
  • solid alkaline


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