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Special Issue "Biomass and Biofuels 2013"

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A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Thomas E. Amidon (Website)

Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, 1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA
Interests: biorefineries; biofuels; bioenergy; bio-based materials and chemicals; nanocellulose; pulp and paper; pellets; forest and biomass resources; process development; novel bio-based products; cell wall deconstruction; hot water extraction; cellulosic bioproducts; improved fiber based products; biomass productivity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to see articles in the intellectual space from raw materials (any form of biomass), to extraction and separation into components, to conversion of intermediates into final products. The products do not have to be biofuels if the products are renewable in origin and substitute for fossil fuel derived products. Engineering work applicable to any of the component operations are also appreciated. We would also be interested in articles showing that more sophistication in product development could lead to greater returns. An example here might be furfural production from xylose as a more valuable product than fermentation of xylose to ethanol as well as showing that this might be an energetically preferable way to produce furfural.

Prof. Dr. Thomas E. Amidon
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • biomass
  • biofuels
  • biorefinery
  • extraction
  • component separation
  • conversion
  • novel biobased products
  • biorefinery engineering
  • biomass and biorefinery policy
  • fossil fuel substitution

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (32 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis of Milled Wood Lignins (MWLs) Isolated from Sugar Maple (SM) and Hot-Water Extracted Sugar Maple (ESM)
Energies 2014, 7(3), 1363-1375; doi:10.3390/en7031363
Received: 20 November 2013 / Revised: 1 February 2014 / Accepted: 18 February 2014 / Published: 5 March 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (842 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To further elucidate the advantageous effects of hot-water extraction (HWE) on delignification, milled wood lignin (MWL) was isolated from sugar maple (SM) and from hot-water extracted sugar maple (ESM). Ball-milled wood was analyzed for particle size distribution (PSD) before and after dioxane:water [...] Read more.
To further elucidate the advantageous effects of hot-water extraction (HWE) on delignification, milled wood lignin (MWL) was isolated from sugar maple (SM) and from hot-water extracted sugar maple (ESM). Ball-milled wood was analyzed for particle size distribution (PSD) before and after dioxane:water (DW) extraction. The MWL samples were analyzed by analytical and spectral methods. The results indicated that the MWL isolated from SM and ESM was mainly released from the middle lamella (ML) and the secondary wall (SW), respectively. The cleavage of dibenzodioxocin (DB) and spirodienone (SD) lignin substructures during HWE is suggested. The removal of lignin during acetone:water (AW) extraction of hot-water extracted wood indicates that including an additional operation in a hardwood HWE-based biorefinery would be beneficial for processing of wood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Appraising Bioenergy Alternatives in Uganda Using Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)-Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) and a Desirability Functions Approach
Energies 2014, 7(3), 1171-1192; doi:10.3390/en7031171
Received: 27 November 2013 / Revised: 16 January 2014 / Accepted: 7 February 2014 / Published: 26 February 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1045 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Poor access to clean and reliable energy technologies is a major challenge to most developing countries. The decision to introduce new technologies is often faced by low adoption rates or even public opposition. In addition, the data required for effective decision making [...] Read more.
Poor access to clean and reliable energy technologies is a major challenge to most developing countries. The decision to introduce new technologies is often faced by low adoption rates or even public opposition. In addition, the data required for effective decision making is often inadequate or even lacking, thus constraining the planning process. In this study, a methodology for participatory appraisal of technologies, integrating desirability functions to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)-analytical hierarchy process (AHP) methodology was developed. Application of the methodology was illustrated with an example for participatory appraisal of four bioenergy technologies in Uganda. Results showed that the methodology is effective in evaluating stakeholder preferences for bioenergy technologies. It showed a high potential to be used to identify and rate factors that stakeholders take into consideration when selecting bioenergy systems. The method could be used as a tool for technology screening, or reaching consensus in a participatory setup in a transparent manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Fractionation for Biodiesel Purification Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide
Energies 2014, 7(2), 824-833; doi:10.3390/en7020824
Received: 30 October 2013 / Revised: 16 February 2014 / Accepted: 17 February 2014 / Published: 19 February 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (341 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, biodegradable and alternative biodiesel has attracted increased attention worldwide. Producing biodiesel from biomass involves critical separation and purification technology. Conventional technologies such as gravitational settling, decantation, filtration, water washing, acid washing, organic solvent washing and absorbent applications are inefficient, [...] Read more.
In recent years, biodegradable and alternative biodiesel has attracted increased attention worldwide. Producing biodiesel from biomass involves critical separation and purification technology. Conventional technologies such as gravitational settling, decantation, filtration, water washing, acid washing, organic solvent washing and absorbent applications are inefficient, less cost effective and environmentally less friendly. In this study supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2) with few steps and a low environmental impact, was used for biodiesel fractionation from impure fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) solution mixes. The method is suitable for application in a variety of biodiesel production processes requiring subsequent stages of purification. The fractionation and purification was carried out using continuous SC-CO2 fractionation equipment, consisting of three columns filled with stainless steel fragments. A 41.85% FAME content solution mix was used as the raw material in this study. Variables were a temperature range of 40–70 °C, pressure range of 10–30 MPa, SC-CO2 flow rate range of 7–21 mL/min and a retention time range of 30–90 min. The Taguchi method was used to identify optimal operating conditions. The results show that a separated FAME content of 99.94% was verified by GC-FID under optimal fractionation conditions, which are a temperature of 40 °C of, a pressure level of 30MPa and a flow rate of 7 mL/min of SC-CO2 for a retention time of 90 min. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Impact of Hot-Water Extraction on Acetone-Water Oxygen Delignification of Paulownia Spp. and Lignin Recovery
Energies 2014, 7(2), 857-873; doi:10.3390/en7020857
Received: 9 December 2013 / Revised: 7 February 2014 / Accepted: 17 February 2014 / Published: 19 February 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (606 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A hardwood-based biorefinery process starting with hot-water extraction (HWE) is recommended in order to remove most of the hemicelluloses/xylans before further processing. HWE may be followed by delignification in acetone/water in the presence of oxygen (AWO) for the production of cellulose and [...] Read more.
A hardwood-based biorefinery process starting with hot-water extraction (HWE) is recommended in order to remove most of the hemicelluloses/xylans before further processing. HWE may be followed by delignification in acetone/water in the presence of oxygen (AWO) for the production of cellulose and lignin. In this study, the HWE-AWO sequence was evaluated for its effectiveness at removing lignin from the fast-growing species Paulownia tomentosa (PT) and Paulownia elongata (PE), in comparison with the reference species, sugar maple (Acer saccharum, SM). HWE might lead to a remarkable increase in lignin accessibility, and as a result, a greater AWO delignification degree was observed for extracted PT, PE, and SM than for unextracted ones. Organosolv lignin was recovered from the spent liquor of AWO delignification of PT with/without prior HWE and characterized to evaluate the benefits of HWE on the lignin structure and purity. The lignin recovered from the spent liquor of HWE-AWO sequence is of higher purity and lighter color than that recovered from the AWO spent liquor. These properties along with low sulfur content are desirable for lignin high-value applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle The Influence of Loading Rate and Variable Temperatures on Microbial Communities in Anaerobic Digesters
Energies 2014, 7(2), 785-803; doi:10.3390/en7020785
Received: 26 November 2013 / Revised: 22 January 2014 / Accepted: 28 January 2014 / Published: 18 February 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (835 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The relationship between seasonal temperatures, organic loading rate (OLR) and the structure of archaeal communities in anaerobic digesters was investigated. Previous studies have often assessed archaeal community structure at fixed temperatures and constant OLRs, or at variable temperatures not characteristic of temperate [...] Read more.
The relationship between seasonal temperatures, organic loading rate (OLR) and the structure of archaeal communities in anaerobic digesters was investigated. Previous studies have often assessed archaeal community structure at fixed temperatures and constant OLRs, or at variable temperatures not characteristic of temperate climates. The goal of this study was to determine the maximum OLR that would maintain a balanced microbial ecosystem during operation in a variable temperature range expected in a temperate climate (27–10 °C). Four-liter laboratory digesters were operated in a semi-continuous mode using dairy cow manure as the feedstock. At OLRs of 1.8 and 0.8 kg VS/m3·day the digesters soured (pH < 6.5) as a result of a decrease in temperature. The structure of the archaeal community in the sour digesters became increasingly similar to the manure feedstock with gains in the relative abundance of hydrogenotrophic methanogens. At an OLR of 0.3 kg VS/m3·day the digesters did not sour, but the archaeal community was primarily hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Recommendations for operating an ambient temperature digester year round in a temperate climate are to reduce the OLR to at least 0.3 kg VS/m3·day in colder temperatures to prevent a shift to the microbial community associated with the sour digesters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
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Open AccessArticle Availability of Biomass Residues for Co-Firing in Peninsular Malaysia: Implications for Cost and GHG Emissions in the Electricity Sector
Energies 2014, 7(2), 804-823; doi:10.3390/en7020804
Received: 14 December 2013 / Revised: 14 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 February 2014 / Published: 18 February 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2446 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Fossil fuels comprise 93% of Malaysia’s electricity generation and account for 36% of the country’s 2010 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The government has targeted the installation of 330 MW of biomass electricity generation capacity by 2015 to avoid 1.3 Mt of CO [...] Read more.
Fossil fuels comprise 93% of Malaysia’s electricity generation and account for 36% of the country’s 2010 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The government has targeted the installation of 330 MW of biomass electricity generation capacity by 2015 to avoid 1.3 Mt of CO2 emissions annually and offset some emissions due to increased coal use. One biomass option is to co-fire with coal, which can result in reduced GHG emissions, coal use, and costs of electricity. A linear optimization cost model was developed using seven types of biomass residues for Peninsular Malaysia. Results suggest that about 12 Mt/year of residues are available annually, of which oil-palm residues contribute 77%, and rice and logging residues comprise 17%. While minimizing the cost of biomass and biomass residue transport, co-firing at four existing coal plants in Peninsular Malaysia could meet the 330 MW biomass electricity target and reduce costs by about $24 million per year compared to coal use alone and reduces GHG emissions by 1.9 Mt of CO2. Maximizing emissions reduction for biomass co-firing results in 17 Mt of CO2 reductions at a cost of $23/t of CO2 reduced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Organic Loading Rate on the Performance of a Pressurized Anaerobic Filter in Two-Phase Anaerobic Digestion
Energies 2014, 7(2), 736-750; doi:10.3390/en7020736
Received: 16 December 2013 / Revised: 30 January 2014 / Accepted: 7 February 2014 / Published: 13 February 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (434 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of organic loading rate (OLR) on a pressurized anaerobic filter was studied in a laboratory two-phase anaerobic digestion system. The anaerobic filter was operated successively at two working pressures (9 bar and 1.5 bar). The OLR(COD) for each pressure [...] Read more.
The effect of organic loading rate (OLR) on a pressurized anaerobic filter was studied in a laboratory two-phase anaerobic digestion system. The anaerobic filter was operated successively at two working pressures (9 bar and 1.5 bar). The OLR(COD) for each pressure was increased from 5 to 17.5 kg·m−3·day−1. The best performance of the reactor at 9 bar was observed at OLR(COD) of 12.5 kg·m−3·day−1 and hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 1.8 day, with specific biogas productivity (SBP) of 5.3 L·L−1·day−1 and COD degradation grade of 90.6%. At higher OLRs and shorter HRTs, the process became unstable. In contrast, there was no indication of digester failure during the experiments at 1.5 bar. The SBP peaked at OLR(COD) of 17.5 kg·m−3·day−1 with 8.2 L·L−1·day−1, where COD degradation grade was 90.4%. The biogas collected from the reactor at 9 bar and 1.5 bar contained approximately 74.5% CH4 and 66.2% CH4, respectively, regardless of OLR variation. At OLR(COD) of 5–12.5 kg·m−3·day−1, the reactor at 9 bar had the same specific methane yield as at 1.5 bar, which was in the range of 0.31–0.32 LN·g−1COD. Raising the working pressure in the reactor resulted in an increase of methane content of the produced biogas. However, the low pH value (approximately 6.5) inside the reactor, induced by high CO2 partial pressure seemed to limit the reactor performance at high OLRs and short HRT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Nanofibrillated Cellulose (NFC): A High-Value Co-Product that Improves the Economics of Cellulosic Ethanol Production
Energies 2014, 7(2), 607-618; doi:10.3390/en7020607
Received: 19 November 2013 / Revised: 22 January 2014 / Accepted: 27 January 2014 / Published: 7 February 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (984 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cellulosic ethanol is a sustainable alternative to petroleum as a transportation fuel, which could be made biologically from agricultural and forestry residues, municipal waste, or herbaceous and woody crops. Instead of putting efforts on steps overcoming the natural resistance of plants to [...] Read more.
Cellulosic ethanol is a sustainable alternative to petroleum as a transportation fuel, which could be made biologically from agricultural and forestry residues, municipal waste, or herbaceous and woody crops. Instead of putting efforts on steps overcoming the natural resistance of plants to biological breakdown, our study proposes a unique pathway to improve the outcome of the process by co-producing high-value nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC), offering a new economic leverage for cellulosic ethanol to compete with fossil fuels in the near future. In this study, glucose has been produced by commercial enzymes while the residual solids are converted into NFC via sonification. Here, we report the morphology of fibers changed through the process and yield of glucose in the enzymatic hydrolysis step. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Emission Characteristics of a CI Engine Running with a Range of Biodiesel Feedstocks
Energies 2014, 7(1), 334-350; doi:10.3390/en7010334
Received: 4 November 2013 / Revised: 7 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 16 January 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, alternative fuels are being investigated in detail for application in compression ignition (CI) engines resulting in exciting potential opportunities to increase energy security and reduce gas emissions. Biodiesel is one of the alternative fuels which is renewable and environmentally friendly and [...] Read more.
Currently, alternative fuels are being investigated in detail for application in compression ignition (CI) engines resulting in exciting potential opportunities to increase energy security and reduce gas emissions. Biodiesel is one of the alternative fuels which is renewable and environmentally friendly and can be used in diesel engines with little or no modifications. The objective of this study is to investigate the effects of biodiesel types and biodiesel fraction on the emission characteristics of a CI engine. The experimental work was carried out on a four-cylinder, four-stroke, direct injection (DI) and turbocharged diesel engine by using biodiesel made from waste oil, rapeseed oil, corn oil and comparing them to normal diesel. The fuels used in the analyses are B10, B20, B50, B100 and neat diesel. The engine was operated over a range of engine speeds. Based on the measured parameters, detailed analyses were carried out on major regulated emissions such as NOx, CO, CO2, and THC. It has been seen that the biodiesel types (sources) do not result in any significant differences in emissions. The results also clearly indicate that the engine running with biodiesel and blends have higher NOx emission by up to 20%. However, the emissions of the CI engine running on neat biodiesel (B100) were reduced by up to 15%, 40% and 30% for CO, CO2 and THC emissions respectively, as compared to diesel fuel at various operating conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle An Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Fluidized Bed Gasification of Solid Waste
Energies 2014, 7(1), 43-61; doi:10.3390/en7010043
Received: 24 September 2013 / Revised: 9 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (691 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gasification is a thermo-chemical process to convert carbon-based products such as biomass and coal into a gas mixture known as synthetic gas or syngas. Various types of gasification methods exist, and fluidized bed gasification is one of them which is considered more [...] Read more.
Gasification is a thermo-chemical process to convert carbon-based products such as biomass and coal into a gas mixture known as synthetic gas or syngas. Various types of gasification methods exist, and fluidized bed gasification is one of them which is considered more efficient than others as fuel is fluidized in oxygen, steam or air. This paper presents an experimental and numerical investigation of fluidized bed gasification of solid waste (SW) (wood). The experimental measurement of syngas composition was done using a pilot scale gasifier. A numerical model was developed using Advanced System for Process ENgineering (Aspen) Plus software. Several Aspen Plus reactor blocks were used along with user defined FORTRAN and Excel code. The model was validated with experimental results. The study found very similar performance between simulation and experimental results, with a maximum variation of 3%. The validated model was used to study the effect of air-fuel and steam-fuel ratio on syngas composition. The model will be useful to predict the various operating parameters of a pilot scale SW gasification plant, such as temperature, pressure, air-fuel ratio and steam-fuel ratio. Therefore, the model can assist researchers, professionals and industries to identify optimized conditions for SW gasification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Biofuel Cells with Hemoglobin as Cathodic Electrocatalysts for Hydrogen Peroxide Reduction on Bare Indium-Tin-Oxide Electrodes
Energies 2014, 7(1), 1-12; doi:10.3390/en7010001
Received: 1 November 2013 / Revised: 9 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
PDF Full-text (967 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A biofuel cell (BFC) cathode has been developed based on direct electron transfer (DET) of hemoglobin (Hb) molecules with an indium-tin-oxide (ITO) electrode and their electrocatalysis for reduction of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In this study, the ITO-coated glass [...] Read more.
A biofuel cell (BFC) cathode has been developed based on direct electron transfer (DET) of hemoglobin (Hb) molecules with an indium-tin-oxide (ITO) electrode and their electrocatalysis for reduction of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In this study, the ITO-coated glass plates or porous glasses were prepared by using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method and examined the electrochemical characteristics of the formed ITO in pH 7.4 of phosphate buffered saline (PBS) solutions containing and not containing Hb. In half-cell measurements, the reduction current of H2O2 due to the electrocatalytic activity of Hb increased with decreasing electrode potential from around 0.1 V versus Ag|AgCl|KCl(satd.) in the PBS solution. The practical open-circuit voltage (OCV) on BFCs utilizing H2O2 reduction at the Hb-ITO cathode with a hydrogen (H2) oxidation anode at a platinum (Pt) electrode was expected to be at least 0.74 V from the theoretical H2 oxidation potential of −0.64 V versus Ag|AgCl|KCl(satd.) in pH 7.4. The assembled single cell using the ITO-coated glass plate showed the OCV of 0.72 V and the maximum power density of 3.1 µW cm−2. The maximum power per single cell was recorded at 21.5 µW by using the ITO-coated porous glass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
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Open AccessArticle Product Yields and Characteristics of Corncob Waste under Various Torrefaction Atmospheres
Energies 2014, 7(1), 13-27; doi:10.3390/en7010013
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 10 December 2013 / Accepted: 13 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (337 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomass is a promising energy source due to its abundant, carbon-fixing, and carbon-neutral properties. Torrefaction can be employed to improve the properties of biomass in an oxygen-free or nitrogen atmosphere. This study investigates the product yields and the solid product characteristics from [...] Read more.
Biomass is a promising energy source due to its abundant, carbon-fixing, and carbon-neutral properties. Torrefaction can be employed to improve the properties of biomass in an oxygen-free or nitrogen atmosphere. This study investigates the product yields and the solid product characteristics from corncob waste torrefaction at the temperatures of 250 °C and 300 °C for 1 h. Nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and a gas mixture of air and carbon dioxide are employed as the carrier gases. The solid product characteristics approach those of coal at the higher temperature, regardless of what the carrier gases are. The fixed carbon, higher heating value, and solid and energy yields using carbon dioxide as a carrier gas at 300 °C are close to those using nitrogen. The product safety and storage properties before and after torrefaction are revealed by the measurements of ignition temperature and hygroscopicity. A higher torrefaction temperature leads to a higher ignition temperature of treated biomass, except using the mixture of air and carbon dioxide as the carrier gas. Carbon dioxide is a better carrier gas than nitrogen for biomass torrefaction, from the storage and transportation points of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Performance Analysis of an Integrated Fixed Bed Gasifier Model for Different Biomass Feedstocks
Energies 2013, 6(12), 6508-6524; doi:10.3390/en6126508
Received: 24 September 2013 / Revised: 9 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 16 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (487 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Energy recovery from biomass by gasification technology has attracted significant interest because it satisfies a key requirement of environmental sustainability by producing near zero emissions. Though it is not a new technology, studies on its integrated process simulation and analysis are limited, [...] Read more.
Energy recovery from biomass by gasification technology has attracted significant interest because it satisfies a key requirement of environmental sustainability by producing near zero emissions. Though it is not a new technology, studies on its integrated process simulation and analysis are limited, in particular for municipal solid waste (MSW) gasification. This paper develops an integrated fixed bed gasifier model of biomass gasification using the Advanced System for Process ENngineering (Aspen) Plus software for its performance analysis. A computational model was developed on the basis of Gibbs free energy minimization. The model is validated with experimental data of MSW and food waste gasification available in the literature. A reasonable agreement between measured and predicted syngas composition was found. Using the validated model, the effects of operating conditions, namely air-fuel ratio and gasifier temperature, on syngas production are studied. Performance analyses have been done for four different feedstocks, namely wood, coffee bean husks, green wastes and MSWs. The ultimate and proximate analysis data for each feedstock was used for model development. It was found that operating parameters have a significant influence on syngas composition. An air-fuel ratio of 0.3 and gasifier temperature of 700 °C provides optimum performance for a fixed bed gasifier for MSWs, wood wastes, green wastes and coffee bean husks. The developed model can be useful for gasification of other biomasses (e.g., food wastes, rice husks, poultry wastes and sugarcane bagasse) to predict the syngas composition. Therefore, the study provides an integrated gasification model which can be used for different biomass feedstocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Rapid Biogas Production by Compact Multi-Layer Membrane Bioreactor: Efficiency of Synthetic Polymeric Membranes
Energies 2013, 6(12), 6211-6224; doi:10.3390/en6126211
Received: 26 September 2013 / Revised: 15 November 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (771 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Entrapment of methane-producing microorganisms between semi-permeable synthetic membranes in a multi-layer membrane bioreactor (MMBR) was studied and compared to the digestion capacity of a free-cell digester, using a hydraulic retention time of one day and organic loading rates (OLR) of 3.08, 6.16, [...] Read more.
Entrapment of methane-producing microorganisms between semi-permeable synthetic membranes in a multi-layer membrane bioreactor (MMBR) was studied and compared to the digestion capacity of a free-cell digester, using a hydraulic retention time of one day and organic loading rates (OLR) of 3.08, 6.16, and 8.16 g COD/L·day. The reactor was designed to retain bacterial cells with uprising plug flow through a narrow tunnel between membrane layers, in order to acquire maximal mass transfer in a compact bioreactor. Membranes of hydrophobic polyamide 46 (PA) and hydroxyethylated polyamide 46 (HPA) as well as a commercial membrane of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) were examined. While the bacteria in the free-cell digester were washed out, the membrane bioreactor succeeded in retaining them. Cross-flow of the liquid through the membrane surface and diffusion of the substrate through the membranes, using no extra driving force, allowed the bacteria to receive nutrients and to produce biogas. However, the choice of membrane type was crucial. Synthesized hydrophobic PA membrane was not effective for this purpose, producing 50–121 mL biogas/day, while developed HPA membrane and the reference PVDF were able to transfer the nutrients and metabolites while retaining the cells, producing 1102–1633 and 1016–1960 mL biogas/day, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Co-Combustion of Animal Waste in a Commercial Waste-to-Energy BFB Boiler
Energies 2013, 6(12), 6170-6187; doi:10.3390/en6126170
Received: 26 September 2013 / Revised: 16 November 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 27 November 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1730 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Co-combustion of animal waste, in waste-to-energy boilers, is considered a method to produce both heat and power and to dispose of possibly infected animal wastes. This research conducted full-scale combustion tests to identify the impact of changed fuel composition on a fluidized-bed [...] Read more.
Co-combustion of animal waste, in waste-to-energy boilers, is considered a method to produce both heat and power and to dispose of possibly infected animal wastes. This research conducted full-scale combustion tests to identify the impact of changed fuel composition on a fluidized-bed boiler. The impact was characterized by analyzing the deposit formation rate, deposit composition, ash composition, and emissions. Two combustion tests, denoted the reference case and animal waste case, were performed based on different fuel mixes. In the reference case, a normal solid waste fuel mix was combusted in the boiler, containing sorted industry and household waste. In the animal waste case, 20 wt% animal waste was added to the reference fuel mix. The collected samples, comprising sampling probe deposits, fuel mixes, bed ash, return sand, boiler ash, cyclone ash and filter ash, were analyzed using chemical fractionation, SEM-EDX and XRD. The results indicate decreased deposit formation due to animal waste co-combustion. SEM-EDX and chemical fractionation identified higher concentrations of P, Ca, S, and Cl in the bed materials in the animal waste case. Moreover, the risk of bed agglomeration was lower in the animal waste case and also a decreased rate of NOx and SO2 emissions were observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Biomass Fuel and Combustion Conditions Selection in a Fixed Bed Combustor
Energies 2013, 6(11), 5973-5989; doi:10.3390/en6115973
Received: 27 September 2013 / Revised: 4 November 2013 / Accepted: 6 November 2013 / Published: 18 November 2013
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The biomass market has experienced an increase in development, leading to research and development efforts that are focused on determining optimal biofuel combustion conditions. Biomass combustion is a complex process that involves divergent parameters and thus requires the use of advanced analysis [...] Read more.
The biomass market has experienced an increase in development, leading to research and development efforts that are focused on determining optimal biofuel combustion conditions. Biomass combustion is a complex process that involves divergent parameters and thus requires the use of advanced analysis methods. This study proposes combining grey relational analysis (GRA) and error propagation theory (EPT) to select a biofuel and its optimal combustion conditions. This research will study three biofuels that are currently used in a region of South Europe (Spain), and the most important variables that affect combustion are the ignition front propagation speed and the highest temperature that is reached at the fixed bed combustor. The results demonstrate that a combination of both theories for the analysis of solid-state thermochemical phenomena enables a fast and simple way of choosing the best configuration for each fuel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Corn Stover and Wheat Straw Combustion in a 176-kW Boiler Adapted for Round Bales
Energies 2013, 6(11), 5760-5774; doi:10.3390/en6115760
Received: 7 September 2013 / Revised: 19 October 2013 / Accepted: 23 October 2013 / Published: 4 November 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (417 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Combustion trials were conducted with corn stover (CS) and wheat straw (WS) round bales in a 176-kW boiler (model Farm 2000). Hot water (80 °C) stored in a 30,000-L water tank was transferred to a turkey barn through a plate exchanger. Gross [...] Read more.
Combustion trials were conducted with corn stover (CS) and wheat straw (WS) round bales in a 176-kW boiler (model Farm 2000). Hot water (80 °C) stored in a 30,000-L water tank was transferred to a turkey barn through a plate exchanger. Gross calorific value measured in the laboratory was 17.0 and 18.9 MJ/kg DM (dry matter) for CS and WS, respectively. Twelve bales of CS (1974 kg DM total, moisture content of 13.6%) were burned over a 52-h period and produced 9.2% ash. Average emissions of CO, NOx and SO2 were 2725, 9.8 and 2.1 mg/m3, respectively. Thermal efficiency was 40.8%. For WS, six bales (940 kg DM total, MC of 15%) were burned over a 28-h period and produced 2.6% ash. Average emissions of CO, NOx and SO2 were 2210, 40.4 and 3.7 mg/m3, respectively. Thermal efficiency was 68.0%. A validation combustion trial performed a year later with 90 CS bales confirmed good heating performance and the potential to lower ash content (6.2% average). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Biogas Production from Thin Stillage on an Industrial Scale—Experience and Optimisation
Energies 2013, 6(11), 5642-5655; doi:10.3390/en6115642
Received: 5 August 2013 / Revised: 27 September 2013 / Accepted: 15 October 2013 / Published: 29 October 2013
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the increasing demand for renewable energy and sustainable waste treatment, biogas production is expanding. Approximately four billion litres of bio-ethanol are produced annually for vehicle fuel in Europe, resulting in the production of large amounts of stillage residues. This stillage is [...] Read more.
With the increasing demand for renewable energy and sustainable waste treatment, biogas production is expanding. Approximately four billion litres of bio-ethanol are produced annually for vehicle fuel in Europe, resulting in the production of large amounts of stillage residues. This stillage is energy-rich and can be used for biogas production, but is a challenging substrate due to its high levels of nitrogen and sulphate. At the full-scale biogas production plant in Norrköping, Sweden (Svensk Biogas i Linköping AB), thin grain stillage is used as a biogas substrate. This paper describes the plant operation and strategies that have been implemented to digest thin stillage successfully. High ammonia concentrations in the digester have resulted in syntrophic acetate oxidation (SAO) becoming the major pathway for acetate degradation. Therefore, a long hydraulic retention time (HRT) (40–60 days) is used to allow the syntrophic acetate-oxidising bacteria time to grow. The high sulphate levels in thin stillage result in high levels of hydrogen sulphide following degradation of protein and the activity of sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB), the presence of which has been confirmed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) analysis. To optimise biogas production and maintain a stable process, the substrate is diluted with tap water and co-digested with grain residues and glycerine to keep the ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N) concentration below 6 g L−1. Combined addition of iron, hydrochloric acid and cobalt successfully precipitates sulphides, reduces ammonia toxicity and supplies microorganisms with trace element. Mesophilic temperature (38 °C) is employed to further avoid ammonia toxicity. Together, these measures and doubling the digester volume have made it possible to increase annual biogas production from 27.7 TJ to 69.1 TJ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Decision Support for the Construction of Farm-Scale Biogas Digesters in Developing Countries with Cold Seasons
Energies 2013, 6(10), 5314-5332; doi:10.3390/en6105314
Received: 12 July 2013 / Revised: 4 October 2013 / Accepted: 11 October 2013 / Published: 18 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biogas production is a clean renewable energy source that can improve lives in developing countries. However, winter temperatures in some areas are too low to enable enough biogas production in small unheated digesters to meet the energy requirements of households. Low-cost, high [...] Read more.
Biogas production is a clean renewable energy source that can improve lives in developing countries. However, winter temperatures in some areas are too low to enable enough biogas production in small unheated digesters to meet the energy requirements of households. Low-cost, high yield reactors adapted to the local climate are needed in those situations. A decision-support model was developed to assist in the design of biogas reactors capable of meeting households’ year-round energy needs. Monthly biogas production relative to household energy needs was calculated for the scenario of suburban Hanoi, Vietnam. Calculations included pig number, slurry (manure water mixture) dilution, retention time and biogas/solar heating. Although using biogas to heat the digester increased biogas production, it did not lead to an energy surplus, particularly with the 1:9 slurry dilution rate commonly used on pig farms. However, at a 1:3 slurry dilution, the use of solar heating to provide 90% and biogas 10% of the heat required to heat the digester to 35 °C improved the biogas production by 50% compared to psychrophilic production. The energy needs of an average five-person family throughout the year required 17 fattening pigs. This model can establish the best solution for producing sufficient energy throughout the year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Building Agro-Energy Supply Chains in the Basilicata Region: Technical and Economic Evaluation of Interchangeability between Fossil and Renewable Energy Sources
Energies 2013, 6(10), 5259-5282; doi:10.3390/en6105259
Received: 5 August 2013 / Revised: 24 September 2013 / Accepted: 8 October 2013 / Published: 15 October 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, we present a model for the implementation of agro-energy chains based on the actual availability of forest biomass and the real demand for energy (heat) in the area of the Basilicata region, Italy. The demand for energy has been [...] Read more.
In this study, we present a model for the implementation of agro-energy chains based on the actual availability of forest biomass and the real demand for energy (heat) in the area of the Basilicata region, Italy. The demand for energy has been estimated by drawing on the database of the Ministry of Economic Development or by calculating the Annual Energy Requirement (AER) index, while for the estimate of the available forest biomass, reference was made to the public forest lands managed according to forestry management plans. The collected data were cross-checked with a view to detecting the technical and economic feasibility of district heating systems. The technical evaluation has mainly focused on the energetic and plant aspects, while the economic assessment was directed to defining the cost effectiveness criteria [Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Payback Period] that can measure the profitability of the investment. In the economic evaluation we also included the national public incentives, designed to encourage the production of energy from renewable sources in compliance with the international agreements signed by Italy for the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Microbial Community Response to Seasonal Temperature Variation in a Small-Scale Anaerobic Digester
Energies 2013, 6(10), 5182-5199; doi:10.3390/en6105182
Received: 18 September 2013 / Revised: 8 October 2013 / Accepted: 9 October 2013 / Published: 14 October 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (647 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Bacterial and Archaeal communities in a 1.14 m3 ambient temperature anaerobic digester treating dairy cow manure were investigated using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms (T-RFLP) and direct sequencing of the cloned polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products. Results indicate shifts in [...] Read more.
The Bacterial and Archaeal communities in a 1.14 m3 ambient temperature anaerobic digester treating dairy cow manure were investigated using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphisms (T-RFLP) and direct sequencing of the cloned polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products. Results indicate shifts in the structure of the both the Archaeal and Bacterial communities coincided with digester re-inoculation as well as temperature and loading rate changes. Following re-inoculation of the sour digester, the predominant Archaea shifted from Methanobrevibacter to Methanosarcina, which was the most abundant Archaea in the inoculum. Methonosarcina was replaced by Methanosaeta after the resumption of digester loading in the summer of 2010. Methanosaeta began to decline in abundance as the digester temperature cooled in the fall of 2010 while Methanobrevibacter increased in abundance. The microbial community rate of change was variable during the study period, with the most rapid changes occurring after re-inoculation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Effects of Biodiesel Blend on Marine Fuel Characteristics for Marine Vessels
Energies 2013, 6(9), 4945-4955; doi:10.3390/en6094945
Received: 12 July 2013 / Revised: 12 September 2013 / Accepted: 16 September 2013 / Published: 24 September 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (263 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biodiesel produced from vegetable oils, animal fats and algae oil is a renewable, environmentally friendly and clean alternative fuel that reduces pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in marine applications. This study investigates the influence of biodiesel blend on the characteristics of residual [...] Read more.
Biodiesel produced from vegetable oils, animal fats and algae oil is a renewable, environmentally friendly and clean alternative fuel that reduces pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in marine applications. This study investigates the influence of biodiesel blend on the characteristics of residual and distillate marine fuels. Adequate correlation equations are applied to calculate the fuel properties of the blended marine fuels with biodiesel. Residual marine fuel RMA has inferior fuel characteristics compared with distillate marine fuel DMA and biodiesel. The flash point of marine fuel RMA could be increased by 20% if blended with 20 vol% biodiesel. The sulfur content of residual marine fuel could meet the requirement of the 2008 MARPOL Annex VI Amendment by blending it with 23.0 vol% biodiesel. In addition, the kinematic viscosity of residual marine fuel could be reduced by 12.9% and the carbon residue by 23.6% if 20 vol% and 25 vol% biodiesel are used, respectively. Residual marine fuel blended with 20 vol% biodiesel decreases its lower heating value by 1.9%. Moreover, the fuel properties of residual marine fuel are found to improve more significantly with biodiesel blending than those of distillate marine fuel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Catalytic Conversion of Bio-Oil to Oxygen-Containing Fuels by Acid-Catalyzed Reaction with Olefins and Alcohols over Silica Sulfuric Acid
Energies 2013, 6(9), 4531-4550; doi:10.3390/en6094531
Received: 28 May 2013 / Revised: 5 August 2013 / Accepted: 14 August 2013 / Published: 2 September 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (405 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Crude bio-oil from pine chip fast pyrolysis was upgraded with olefins (1-octene, cyclohexene, 1,7-octadiene, and 2,4,4-trimethylpentene) plus 1-butanol (iso-butanol, t-butanol and ethanol) at 120 °C using a silica sulfuric acid (SSA) catalyst that possesses a good catalytic activity and [...] Read more.
Crude bio-oil from pine chip fast pyrolysis was upgraded with olefins (1-octene, cyclohexene, 1,7-octadiene, and 2,4,4-trimethylpentene) plus 1-butanol (iso-butanol, t-butanol and ethanol) at 120 °C using a silica sulfuric acid (SSA) catalyst that possesses a good catalytic activity and stability. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) analysis showed that upgrading sharply increased ester content and decreased the amounts of levoglucosan, phenols, polyhydric alcohols and carboxylic acids. Upgrading lowered acidity (pH value rose from 2.5 to >3.5), removed the unpleasant odor and increased hydrocarbon solubility. Water content dramatically decreased from 37.2% to about 7.0% and the heating value increased from 12.6 MJ·kg−1 to about 31.9 MJ·kg−1. This work has proved that bio-oil upgrading with a primary olefin plus 1-butanol is a feasible route where all the original heating value of the bio-oil plus the added olefin and alcohol are present in the resulting fuel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Mixing Driven by Siphon Flow: Parallel Experiments Using the Anaerobic Reactors with Different Mixing Modes
Energies 2013, 6(8), 4207-4222; doi:10.3390/en6084207
Received: 8 June 2013 / Revised: 25 July 2013 / Accepted: 5 August 2013 / Published: 19 August 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (573 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of mixing by siphon flow on anaerobic digestion, sludge distribution and microbial community were examined in parallel experiments using a siphon-mixed reactor (SMR), an unmixed reactor (UMR) and a continuously mixed reactor (CMR). The SMR performed well without the accumulation [...] Read more.
The effect of mixing by siphon flow on anaerobic digestion, sludge distribution and microbial community were examined in parallel experiments using a siphon-mixed reactor (SMR), an unmixed reactor (UMR) and a continuously mixed reactor (CMR). The SMR performed well without the accumulation of fatty acids under COD loading rates varying from 3 to 18 kg/m3/day, while the UMR was totally acidified when the loading rate increased to 10 kg/m3/day. The methane yield of the SMR was at least 10% higher than that of the UMR, and comparable to that of the CMR. Furthermore, the SMR was found to markedly improve the dispersion of solids and reduce deposit formation compared to the UMR. Besides, during stable operation, the fatty acids level in the effluent of the SMR and UMR was lower than that in the CMR, and the archaeal community structure of the SMR was similar to that of the UMR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle A Two-Stage Continuous Fermentation System for Conversion of Syngas into Ethanol
Energies 2013, 6(8), 3987-4000; doi:10.3390/en6083987
Received: 29 June 2013 / Revised: 24 July 2013 / Accepted: 27 July 2013 / Published: 7 August 2013
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We have established a two-stage continuous fermentation process for production of ethanol from synthesis gas (syngas) with Clostridium ljungdahlii. The system consists of a 1-L continuously stirred tank reactor as a growth stage and a 4-L bubble column equipped with a [...] Read more.
We have established a two-stage continuous fermentation process for production of ethanol from synthesis gas (syngas) with Clostridium ljungdahlii. The system consists of a 1-L continuously stirred tank reactor as a growth stage and a 4-L bubble column equipped with a cell recycle module as an ethanol production stage. Operating conditions in both stages were optimized for the respective purpose (growth in stage one and alcohol formation in stage two). The system was fed with an artificial syngas mixture, mimicking the composition of syngas derived from lignocellulosic biomass (60% CO, 35% H2, and 5% CO2). Gas recycling was used to increase the contact area and retention time of gas in the liquid phase, improving mass transfer and metabolic rates. In stage two, the biocatalyst was maintained at high cell densities of up to 10 g DW/L. Ethanol was continuously produced at concentrations of up to 450 mM (2.1%) and ethanol production rates of up to 0.37 g/(L·h). Foam control was essential to maintain reactor stability. A stoichiometric evaluation of the optimized process revealed that the recovery of carbon and hydrogen from the provided carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the produced ethanol was 28% and 74%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Biomass Feedstocks and Gasification Conditions on the Physiochemical Properties of Char
Energies 2013, 6(8), 3972-3986; doi:10.3390/en6083972
Received: 19 June 2013 / Revised: 11 July 2013 / Accepted: 22 July 2013 / Published: 6 August 2013
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (880 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Char is a low-value byproduct of biomass gasification and pyrolysis with many potential applications, such as soil amendment and the synthesis of activated carbon and carbon-based catalysts. Considering these high-value applications, char could provide economic benefits to a biorefinery utilizing gasification or [...] Read more.
Char is a low-value byproduct of biomass gasification and pyrolysis with many potential applications, such as soil amendment and the synthesis of activated carbon and carbon-based catalysts. Considering these high-value applications, char could provide economic benefits to a biorefinery utilizing gasification or pyrolysis technologies. However, the properties of char depend heavily on biomass feedstock, gasifier design and operating conditions. This paper reports the effects of biomass type (switchgrass, sorghum straw and red cedar) and equivalence ratio (0.20, 0.25 and 0.28), i.e., the ratio of air supply relative to the air that is required for stoichiometric combustion of biomass, on the physiochemical properties of char derived from gasification. Results show that the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface areas of most of the char were 1–10 m2/g and increased as the equivalence ratio increased. Char moisture and fixed carbon contents decreased while ash content increased as equivalence ratio increased. The corresponding Fourier Transform Infrared spectra showed that the surface functional groups of char differed between biomass types but remained similar with change in equivalence ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Biofuel that Keeps Glycerol as Monoglyceride by 1,3-Selective Ethanolysis with Pig Pancreatic Lipase Covalently Immobilized on AlPO4 Support
Energies 2013, 6(8), 3879-3900; doi:10.3390/en6083879
Received: 2 July 2013 / Revised: 19 July 2013 / Accepted: 23 July 2013 / Published: 30 July 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (529 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
By using pig pancreatic lipase (EC 3.1.1.3 or PPL) as a biocatalyst, covalently immobilized on amorphous AlPO4 support, a new second generation biodiesel was obtained in the transesterification reaction of sunflower oil with ethanol. The resulting biofuel is composed of fatty [...] Read more.
By using pig pancreatic lipase (EC 3.1.1.3 or PPL) as a biocatalyst, covalently immobilized on amorphous AlPO4 support, a new second generation biodiesel was obtained in the transesterification reaction of sunflower oil with ethanol. The resulting biofuel is composed of fatty acid ethyl esters and monoglycerides (FAEE/MG) blended in a 2:1 molar ratio. This novel product, which integrates glycerol as monoacylglycerols (MG) into the biofuels composition, has similar physicochemical properties as conventional biodiesel and also avoids the removal step of the by-product by washing of the biodiesel with water. Immobilization of PPL was achieved by covalent attachment of the ε-amino group of the lysine residues of PPL with the aldehyde groups of p-hydroxybenzaldehyde linked on a hybrid organic-inorganic functionalized AlPO4 surface. With this procedure, the PPL biocatalyst was strongly fixed to the inorganic support surface (94.3%). Nevertheless, the efficiency of the immobilized enzyme was relatively lower compared to that of the free PPL, but it showed a remarkable stability as well as a great capacity of reutilization (25 reuses) without a significant loss of its initial catalytic activity. Therefore, this enzymatic method allows the production of a biodiesel which integrates the glycerol, allows a more efficient fabrication method and minimizes the waste production as compared to the conventional alkali-catalyzed process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Catalytic Steam Reforming of Toluene as a Model Compound of Biomass Gasification Tar Using Ni-CeO2/SBA-15 Catalysts
Energies 2013, 6(7), 3284-3296; doi:10.3390/en6073284
Received: 6 May 2013 / Revised: 16 June 2013 / Accepted: 27 June 2013 / Published: 4 July 2013
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (655 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nickel supported on SBA-15 doped with CeO2 catalysts (Ni-CeO2/SBA-15) was prepared, and used for steam reforming of toluene which was selected as a model compound of biomass gasification tar. A fixed-bed lab-scale set was designed and employed to evaluate [...] Read more.
Nickel supported on SBA-15 doped with CeO2 catalysts (Ni-CeO2/SBA-15) was prepared, and used for steam reforming of toluene which was selected as a model compound of biomass gasification tar. A fixed-bed lab-scale set was designed and employed to evaluate the catalytic performances of the Ni-CeO2/SBA-15 catalysts. Experiments were performed to reveal the effects of several factors on the toluene conversion and product gas composition, including the reaction temperature, steam/carbon (S/C) ratio, and CeO2 loading content. Moreover, the catalysts were subjected to analysis of their carbon contents after the steam reforming experiments, as well as to test the catalytic stability over a long experimental period. The results indicated that the Ni-CeO2/SBA-15 catalysts exhibited promising capabilities on the toluene conversion, anti-coke deposition and catalytic stability. The toluene conversion reached as high as 98.9% at steam reforming temperature of 850 °C and S/C ratio of 3 using the Ni-CeO2(3wt%)/SBA-15 catalyst. Negligible coke formation was detected on the used catalyst. The gaseous products mainly consisted of H2 and CO, together with a little CO2 and CH4. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle Hydrogen-Rich Gas Production by Sorption Enhanced Steam Reforming of Woodgas Containing TAR over a Commercial Ni Catalyst and Calcined Dolomite as CO2 Sorbent
Energies 2013, 6(7), 3167-3181; doi:10.3390/en6073167
Received: 15 May 2013 / Revised: 24 June 2013 / Accepted: 26 June 2013 / Published: 1 July 2013
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (371 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this work was the evaluation of the catalytic steam reforming of a gaseous fuel obtained by steam biomass gasification to convert topping atmosphere residue (TAR) and CH4 and to produce pure H2 by means of a CO [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was the evaluation of the catalytic steam reforming of a gaseous fuel obtained by steam biomass gasification to convert topping atmosphere residue (TAR) and CH4 and to produce pure H2 by means of a CO2 sorbent. This experimental work deals with the demonstration of the practical feasibility of such concepts, using a real woodgas obtained from fluidized bed steam gasification of hazelnut shells. This study evaluates the use of a commercial Ni catalyst and calcined dolomite (CaO/MgO). The bed material simultaneously acts as reforming catalyst and CO2 sorbent. The experimental investigations have been carried out in a fixed bed micro-reactor rig using a slipstream from the gasifier to evaluate gas cleaning and upgrading options. The reforming/sorption tests were carried out at 650 °C while regeneration of the sorbent was carried out at 850 °C in a nitrogen environment. Both combinations of catalyst and sorbent are very effective in TAR and CH4 removal, with conversions near 100%, while the simultaneous CO2 sorption effectively enhances the water gas shift reaction producing a gas with a hydrogen volume fraction of over 90%. Multicycle tests of reforming/CO2 capture and regeneration were performed to verify the stability of the catalysts and sorbents to remove TAR and capture CO2 during the duty cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Effluent Recirculation in a Semi-Continuous Two-Stage Anaerobic Digestion System
Energies 2013, 6(6), 2966-2981; doi:10.3390/en6062966
Received: 5 May 2013 / Revised: 5 June 2013 / Accepted: 9 June 2013 / Published: 17 June 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (362 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of recirculation in increasing organic loading rate (OLR) and decreasing hydraulic retention time (HRT) in a semi-continuous two-stage anaerobic digestion system using stirred tank reactor (CSTR) and an upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) was evaluated. Two-parallel processes were in operation [...] Read more.
The effect of recirculation in increasing organic loading rate (OLR) and decreasing hydraulic retention time (HRT) in a semi-continuous two-stage anaerobic digestion system using stirred tank reactor (CSTR) and an upflow anaerobic sludge bed (UASB) was evaluated. Two-parallel processes were in operation for 100 days, one with recirculation (closed system) and the other without recirculation (open system). For this purpose, two structurally different carbohydrate-based substrates were used; starch and cotton. The digestion of starch and cotton in the closed system resulted in production of 91% and 80% of the theoretical methane yield during the first 60 days. In contrast, in the open system the methane yield was decreased to 82% and 56% of the theoretical value, for starch and cotton, respectively. The OLR could successfully be increased to 4 gVS/L/day for cotton and 10 gVS/L/day for starch. It is concluded that the recirculation supports the microorganisms for effective hydrolysis of polyhydrocarbons in CSTR and to preserve the nutrients in the system at higher OLRs, thereby improving the overall performance and stability of the process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview A Review of Thermal Co-Conversion of Coal and Biomass/Waste
Energies 2014, 7(3), 1098-1148; doi:10.3390/en7031098
Received: 12 November 2013 / Revised: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 5 February 2014 / Published: 25 February 2014
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (642 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biomass is relatively cleaner than coal and is the only renewable carbon resource that can be directly converted into fuel. Biomass can significantly contribute to the world’s energy needs if harnessed sustainably. However, there are also problems associated with the thermal conversion [...] Read more.
Biomass is relatively cleaner than coal and is the only renewable carbon resource that can be directly converted into fuel. Biomass can significantly contribute to the world’s energy needs if harnessed sustainably. However, there are also problems associated with the thermal conversion of biomass. This paper investigates and discusses issues associated with the thermal conversion of coal and biomass as a blend. Most notable topics reviewed are slagging and fouling caused by the relatively reactive alkali and alkaline earth compounds (K2O, Na2O and CaO) found in biomass ash. The alkali and alkaline earth metals (AAEM) present and dispersed in biomass fuels induce catalytic activity during co-conversion with coal. The catalytic activity is most noticeable when blended with high rank coals. The synergy during co-conversion is still controversial although it has been theorized that biomass acts like a hydrogen donor in liquefaction. Published literature also shows that coal and biomass exhibit different mechanisms, depending on the operating conditions, for the formation of nitrogen (N) and sulfur species. Utilization aspects of fly ash from blending coal and biomass are discussed. Recommendations are made on pretreatment options to increase the energy density of biomass fuels through pelletization, torrefaction and flash pyrolysis to reduce transportation costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)
Open AccessReview Microbial Conversion of Waste Glycerol from Biodiesel Production into Value-Added Products
Energies 2013, 6(9), 4739-4768; doi:10.3390/en6094739
Received: 6 June 2013 / Revised: 19 July 2013 / Accepted: 4 September 2013 / Published: 10 September 2013
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (566 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biodiesel has gained a significant amount of attention over the past decade as an environmentally friendly fuel that is capable of being utilized by a conventional diesel engine. However, the biodiesel production process generates glycerol-containing waste streams which have become a disposal [...] Read more.
Biodiesel has gained a significant amount of attention over the past decade as an environmentally friendly fuel that is capable of being utilized by a conventional diesel engine. However, the biodiesel production process generates glycerol-containing waste streams which have become a disposal issue for biodiesel plants and generated a surplus of glycerol. A value-added opportunity is needed in order to compensate for disposal-associated costs. Microbial conversions from glycerol to valuable chemicals performed by various bacteria, yeast, fungi, and microalgae are discussed in this review paper, as well as the possibility of extending these conversions to microbial electrochemical technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2013)

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