Production of phenols and biofuels by catalytic microwave pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass

Quan Bu, Hanwu Lei, Shoujie Ren, Lu Wang, Qin Zhang, Juming Tang, Roger Ruan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


Catalytic microwave pyrolysis of biomass using activated carbon (AC) was investigated to determine the effects of pyrolytic conditions on the yields of phenol and phenolics. Bio-oils with high concentrations of phenol (38.9%) and phenolics (66.9%) were obtained. These levels were higher than those obtained by pyrolysis without AC addition and were closely related to the decomposition of lignin. A high concentration of esters (42.2% in the upgraded bio-oil) was obtained in the presence of Zn powder as catalyst and formic acid/ethanol as reaction medium. Most of the esters identified by GC-MS were long chain fatty acid esters. The high content of phenols and esters obtained in this study can be used as partial replacement of petroleum fuels after separation of oxygenates or as feedstock for organic syntheses in the chemical industry after purification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-279
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in partial by the Office of Research and Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Washington State University.


  • Activated carbon
  • Biomass
  • Catalyst
  • Microwave pyrolysis
  • Phenol


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