Vol 7, No 8 (2016) > Chemical Engineering >

Improving Bio-oil Quality through Co-Pyrolysis of Corn Cobs and Polypropylene in a Stirred Tank Reactor

Dijan Supramono, Jonathan Jonathan, Haqqyana Haqqyana, Setiadi Setiadi, Mohammad Nasikin


Abstract: Bio-oil produced by biomass pyrolysis contains high
oxygenates, namely, carboxylic acids, alcohols, and ketones resulting in low calorific fuel, and therefore
bio-oil requires upgrading to sequester these oxygenates. By conducting the
co-pyrolysis of biomass and plastic feed blend, the donation of hydrogen by
plastic free radicals to the oxygen of biomass free radicals may sufficiently
reduce oxygenate compounds in the bio-oil and increase its yield. Therefore, the
synergetic effects are functional. Currently, co-pyrolysis reactors have high
aspect ratios (ratio of height to diameter) of 4 or more and small diameters
(maximum 40 mm), in which the heat transfer from the furnace to the feed blend is
immaterial even though the plastic material has low thermal conductivity.
However, in large-scale reactors, such a design restricts the bio-oil’s
capacity due to the heat transfer constraint. To resolve the latter and to improve bio-oil
quality, in the present work, the co-pyrolysis of corn cobs and polypropylene
(PP) is conducted in a stirred-tank reactor with a low aspect ratio (2). PP
composition in the feed blend was varied from 0-100%
weight with a 12.5% weight interval, heating rate of 5oC/min, and final
temperature of 500oC. The results show that by increasing the PP
composition in the feed blend from 37.5% to 87.5%, the bio-oil yield increased
from 25.8% to 67.2% feed weight. An analysis of bio-oil quality shows that
there was a favorably abrupt increase of non-oxygenate composition in the
bio-oil from less than 5% to more than 70% as the PP composition in the feed
blend was increased from 37.5% to 50% and more.
Keywords: Co-pyrolysis; Corn cobs; Polypropylene; Stirred tank reactor; Synergistic effect

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