Special Issue "Thermo Fluid Conversion of Biomass"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Luca Fiori
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Via Mesiano, 77, 38123 Trento, Italy
Interests: bioenergy; biomass and organic waste conversion; hydrothermal processes; hydrothermal carbonization; supercritical water gasification; thermochemical processes; supercritical CO2 extraction; supercritical CO2 fractionation; biorefinery; process modeling; thermodynamics; reaction kinetics; process design; mass transport; chemical engineering fundamentals
Prof. Dr. Jillian L. Goldfarb
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Division of Materials Science & Engineering, Boston University, 110 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA 02215, United States
Interests: renewable energy; biomass; pyrolysis; combustion; thermochemical conversion; integrated biorefinery; nanomaterials; sustainable materials; environmental fate and transport; thermodynamics; chemical kinetics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We cordially invite submissions to a Special Issue of Energies on the subject area of “Thermofluid Biomass Conversions”. The Special Issue covers emerging topics such as the thermochemical conversion of biomass and organic waste in fluidized media, such as water, supercritical fluids, ionic liquids, liquid and gaseous solvents, and liquid phase catalysis.

Transforming the huge quantities of residual biomass and organic waste from agriculture and industry, as well as municipal solid waste and sewage sludge, represents a fundamental step towards a zero-waste circular economy. Upgrading these carbonaceous waste streams to renewable energy and advanced materials mitigates their environmental impacts and lowers our dependence on nonrenewable fuels. For biomasses and wastes rich in moisture, their valorization/handling in fluidized systems may well represent an economically and technically feasible solution, as demonstrated by recent industrial efforts worldwide.

Topics of interest for publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Hydrothermal conversion

  • Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC)

  • Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL)

  • Supercritical water gasification (SCWG)

  • Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO)

  • Wet oxidation (oxidation in liquid water; WO)

  • Thermal hydrolysis

  • Conversion in liquid solvents

  • Conversion in ionic liquids

The Special Issue covers all aspects of the above processes, including product streams, such as energy, fuels (e.g., hydrochar, biocrude, syngas, hydrolyzed matter to be fed to anaerobic digesters), sustainable materials (e.g., soil amendment, soil improver, adsorbent media), advanced and/or upgraded materials (e.g., activated carbons, supercapacitor electrode materials, carbon electrodes for fuel cells).

Prof. Dr. Luca Fiori
Prof. Dr. Jillian L. Goldfarb
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Biomass to energy

  • Biomass to chemicals

  • Biomass to advanced materials

  • Waste to energy

  • Waste to chemicals

  • Hydrothermal carbonization

  • Hydrothermal liquefaction

  • Supercritical water gasification

  • Supercritical water oxidation

  • Thermal hydrolysis

  • Conversion in liquid solvents

  • Ionic liquids

  • Hydrochar

  • Process modeling

  • Reaction kinetics

  • Feasibility studies

  • Catalysis

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
In Deep Analysis on the Behavior of Grape Marc Constituents during Hydrothermal Carbonization
Energies 2018, 11(6), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11061379 - 29 May 2018
Cited by 12
Abstract
Grape marc is a residue of the wine-making industry, nowadays not always effectively valorized. It consists of grape seeds (mostly lignocellulosic) and grape skins (mostly holocellulosic). In order to understand possible correlations between seeds and skins in forming hydrochar for it to be [...] Read more.
Grape marc is a residue of the wine-making industry, nowadays not always effectively valorized. It consists of grape seeds (mostly lignocellulosic) and grape skins (mostly holocellulosic). In order to understand possible correlations between seeds and skins in forming hydrochar for it to be used as a solid biofuel, hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) was applied separately to grape marc and its constituents. HTC was performed at several process conditions (temperature: 180, 220 and 250 °C; reaction time: 0.5, 1, 3 and 8 h), in order to collect data on the three phases formed downstream of the process: solid (hydrochar), liquid and gas. An in deep analytical characterization was performed: ultimate analysis and calorific value for hydrochar, Total Organic Carbon (TOC) and Inductively Coupled Plasma (IPC) analyses for liquid phase, composition for gas phase. In previous works, the same experimental apparatus was used to treat residual biomass, obtaining interesting results in terms of possible hydrochar exploitation as a solid biofuel. Thus, the main objectives of this work were both to get results for validating the hypothesis to apply HTC to this feedstock, and to collect data for subsequent theoretical investigations. Moreover, a severity model was developed to allow a predictive description of the hydrochar yield as a function of a unique parameter condensing both temperature and reaction time effects. The results obtained demonstrate that this process can upgrade wet residues into a solid biofuel ad that the process can be satisfactorily described in terms of a severity factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermo Fluid Conversion of Biomass)
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Open AccessArticle
Properties of Hydrochar as Function of Feedstock, Reaction Conditions and Post-Treatment
Energies 2018, 11(3), 674; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11030674 - 16 Mar 2018
Cited by 21
Abstract
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a promising technology to convert wet biomass into carbon-rich materials. Until now, the chemical processes occurring and their influence on the product properties are not well understood. Therefore, a target-oriented production of materials with defined properties is difficult, if [...] Read more.
Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a promising technology to convert wet biomass into carbon-rich materials. Until now, the chemical processes occurring and their influence on the product properties are not well understood. Therefore, a target-oriented production of materials with defined properties is difficult, if not impossible. Here, model compounds such as cellulose and lignin, as well as different definite biomasses such as straw and beech wood are converted by hydrothermal carbonization. Following this, thermogravimetic (TGA) and FTIR measurements are used to get information about chemical structure and thermal properties of the related hydrochars. Some of the isolated materials are thermally post-treated (490 °C and 700 °C) and analyzed. The results show that at “mild” HTC conversion, the cellulose part in a lignocellulose matrix is not completely carbonized and there is still cellulose present. Thermal post-treatment makes the properties of product materials more similar and shows complete carbonization with increase aromatic cross-linking, proven by TGA and FTIR results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermo Fluid Conversion of Biomass)
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Open AccessArticle
Catalytic Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Food Waste Using CeZrOx
Energies 2018, 11(3), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11030564 - 06 Mar 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Approximately 15 million dry tons of food waste is produced annually in the United States (USA), and 92% of this waste is disposed of in landfills where it decomposes to produce greenhouse gases and water pollution. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is an attractive technology [...] Read more.
Approximately 15 million dry tons of food waste is produced annually in the United States (USA), and 92% of this waste is disposed of in landfills where it decomposes to produce greenhouse gases and water pollution. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is an attractive technology capable of converting a broad range of organic compounds, especially those with substantial water content, into energy products. The HTL process produces a bio-oil precursor that can be further upgraded to transportation fuels and an aqueous phase containing water-soluble organic impurities. Converting small oxygenated compounds that partition into the water phase into larger, hydrophobic compounds can reduce aqueous phase remediation costs and improve energy yields. HTL was investigated at 300 °C and a reaction time of 1 h for conversion of an institutional food waste to bio-oil, using either homogeneous Na2CO3 or heterogeneous CeZrOx to promote in situ conversion of water-soluble organic compounds into less oxygenated, oil-soluble products. Results with food waste indicate that CeZrOx improves both bio-oil higher heating value (HHV) and energy recovery when compared both to non-catalytic and Na2CO3-catalyzed HTL. The aqueous phase obtained using CeZrOx as an HTL catalyst contained approximately half the total organic carbon compared to that obtained using Na2CO3—suggesting reduced water treatment costs using the heterogeneous catalyst. Experiments with model compounds indicated that the primary mechanism of action was condensation of aldehydes, a reaction which simultaneously increases molecular weight and oxygen-to-carbon ratio—consistent with the improvements in bio-oil yield and HHV observed with institutional food waste. The catalyst was stable under hydrothermal conditions (≥16 h at 300 °C) and could be reused at least three times for conversion of model aldehydes to water insoluble products. Energy and economic analysis suggested favorable performance for the heterogeneous catalyst compared either to non-catalytic HTL or Na2CO3-catalyzed HTL, especially once catalyst lifetime differences were considered. The results of this study establish the potential of heterogeneous catalysts to improve HTL economics and energetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermo Fluid Conversion of Biomass)
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Open AccessArticle
Organosolv Fractionation of Softwood Biomass for Biofuel and Biorefinery Applications
Energies 2018, 11(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11010050 - 27 Dec 2017
Cited by 36
Abstract
Softwoods represent a significant fraction of the available lignocellulosic biomass for conversion into a variety of bio-based products. Its inherent recalcitrance, however, makes its successful utilization an ongoing challenge. In the current work the research efforts for the fractionation and utilization of softwood [...] Read more.
Softwoods represent a significant fraction of the available lignocellulosic biomass for conversion into a variety of bio-based products. Its inherent recalcitrance, however, makes its successful utilization an ongoing challenge. In the current work the research efforts for the fractionation and utilization of softwood biomass with the organosolv process are reviewed. A short introduction into the specific challenges of softwood utilization, the development of the biorefinery concept, as well as the initial efforts for the development of organosolv as a pulping method is also provided for better understanding of the related research framework. The effect of organosolv pretreatment at various conditions, in the fractionation efficiency of wood components, enzymatic hydrolysis and bioethanol production yields is then discussed. Specific attention is given in the effect of the pretreated biomass properties such as residual lignin on enzymatic hydrolysis. Finally, the valorization of organosolv lignin via the production of biofuels, chemicals, and materials is also described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermo Fluid Conversion of Biomass)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Charcoal and Kraft-Lignin Addition on Coke Compression Strength and Reactivity
Energies 2017, 10(11), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10111850 - 13 Nov 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
The aim of this research was to investigate the effects of charcoal and Kraft-lignin additions on the structure, cold compression strength, and reactivity of bio-cokes produced at the laboratory scale. Bio-cokes were prepared by adding charcoal and Kraft-lignin (2.5, 5.0, 7.5, and 10.0 [...] Read more.
The aim of this research was to investigate the effects of charcoal and Kraft-lignin additions on the structure, cold compression strength, and reactivity of bio-cokes produced at the laboratory scale. Bio-cokes were prepared by adding charcoal and Kraft-lignin (2.5, 5.0, 7.5, and 10.0 wt %) to medium-volatile coal and coking the mixture with controlled heating rate (3.5 °C/min) up to 1200 °C. In addition, four particle sizes of charcoal were added with a 5 wt % addition rate to investigate the effect of particle size on the compression strength and reactivity. Thermogravimetric analysis was used to evaluate the pyrolysis behavior of coal and biomasses. Optical microscopy was used to investigate the interaction of coal and biomass components. It was found that by controlling the amount of charcoal and Kraft-lignin in the coal blend, the compression strength of the bio-cokes remains at an acceptable level compared to the reference coke without biomass addition. The cold compression strength of the charcoal bio-cokes was higher compared to Kraft-lignin bio-cokes. The reactivity of the bio-cokes with charcoal addition was markedly higher compared to reference coke and Kraft-lignin bio-cokes, mainly due to the differences in the physical properties of the parental biomass. By increasing the bulk density of the coal/biomass charge, the cold compression strength of the bio-cokes can be improved substantially. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermo Fluid Conversion of Biomass)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Hydrothermal Carbonization: Modeling, Final Properties Design and Applications: A Review
Energies 2018, 11(1), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/en11010216 - 16 Jan 2018
Cited by 47
Abstract
Active research on biomass hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) continues to demonstrate its advantages over other thermochemical processes, in particular the interesting benefits that are associated with carbonaceous solid products, called hydrochar (HC). The areas of applications of HC range from biofuel to doped porous [...] Read more.
Active research on biomass hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) continues to demonstrate its advantages over other thermochemical processes, in particular the interesting benefits that are associated with carbonaceous solid products, called hydrochar (HC). The areas of applications of HC range from biofuel to doped porous material for adsorption, energy storage, and catalysis. At the same time, intensive research has been aimed at better elucidating the process mechanisms and kinetics, and how the experimental variables (temperature, time, biomass load, feedstock composition, as well as their interactions) affect the distribution between phases and their composition. This review provides an analysis of the state of the art on HTC, mainly with regard to the effect of variables on the process, the associated kinetics, and the characteristics of the solid phase (HC), as well as some of the more studied applications so far. The focus is on research made over the last five years on these topics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermo Fluid Conversion of Biomass)
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