Special Issue "Valorization of Residues from Energy Conversion of Biomass for Advanced and Sustainable Material Applications"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Dirk Enke
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Chemical Technology, Leipzig University, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
Interests: characterization of nanoporous materials; application of nanoporous monoliths; hierarchically structured porous materials
Mr. Hossein Beidaghy Dizaji
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Thermo-chemical Conversion, DBFZ German Biomass Research Center gGmbH, 04347 Leipzig, Germany
2. Institute of Chemical Technology, Leipzig University, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
Interests: thermochemical conversion of silica-rich biomass assortments
Dr. Volker Lenz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Thermo-chemical Conversion, DBFZ German Biomass Research Center gGmbH, 04347 Leipzig, Germany
Interests: SmartBiomassHeat; Thermo-chemical conversion; Integration of Bioenergy into renewable energy systems; emission reduction; system integration of renewable energies
Dr. Thomas Zeng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Thermo-chemical Conversion, DBFZ German Biomass Research Center gGmbH, 04347 Leipzig, Germany
Interests: characterization, production and optimization of solid biofuels to reduce ash related problems during combustion and gasification as well as ash valorization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bioenergy plays an important role in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the ambitious targets set in the Paris agreement. The potential of high-quality wood for energy production is limited, and rapid increase in wood utilization has resulted in high-quality woody material shortage in some regions. Hence, forestall and agricultural side products as well as biogenic wastes seem to be promising alternatives. One of the main challenges in the utilization of such biomasses in energy production is their higher ash content and critical composition causing operational problems and consequently rendering their thermal conversion difficult and expensive. However, valorization of residues from conversion processes can provide a secondary benefit that could compensate additional costs caused by ash-related problems.

The scope of this Special Issue is to cover the utilization options for residues (i.e., ashes and chars) from thermochemical conversion of biomass (e.g., combustion, and gasification) and their role in an emerging sustainable bio-economy. The Special Issue will include both comprehensive reviews as well as in-depth research papers. The editors welcome contributions that address applications of the remaining ashes and chars from thermochemical conversion processes as advanced and sustainable materials, e.g., in the construction industry, catalysis, adsorption of heavy metals or CO2, and energy storage. Furthermore, studies on the influence of fuel composition, chemical and thermal fuel pre-treatment processes and conversion parameters on the characteristics and the applicability of conversion residues are highly welcome. The main paper acceptance criteria are novelty, scientific and academic excellence, as well as the originality of the submitted manuscripts

Prof. Dr. Dirk Enke
Mr. Hossein Beidaghy Dizaji
Dr. Volker Lenz
Dr. Thomas Zeng
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. Sustainability 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 1900 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 ash valorization
  • thermochemical conversion
  • material applications
  • pre-treatment processes
  • sustainable bio-economy

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Wood Ashes from Grate-Fired Heat and Power Plants: Evaluation of Nutrient and Heavy Metal Contents
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5482; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105482 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 349
Abstract
Ashes from biomass heat (and power) plants that apply untreated woody biofuels may be suitable for use as fertilizers if certain requirements regarding pollutant and nutrient contents are met. The aim of this study was to examine if both bottom and cyclone ashes [...] Read more.
Ashes from biomass heat (and power) plants that apply untreated woody biofuels may be suitable for use as fertilizers if certain requirements regarding pollutant and nutrient contents are met. The aim of this study was to examine if both bottom and cyclone ashes from 17 Bavarian heating plants and one ash collection depot are suitable as fertilizers (n = 50). The range and average values of relevant nutrients and pollutants in the ashes were analyzed and evaluated for conformity with the German Fertilizer Ordinance (DüMV). Approximately 30% of the bottom ashes directly complied with the heavy metal limits of the Fertilizer Ordinance. The limits were exceeded for chromium(VI) (62%), cadmium (12%) and lead (4%). If chromium(VI) could be reduced by suitable treatment, 85% of the bottom ashes would comply with the required limit values. Cyclone ashes were high in cadmium, lead, and zinc. The analysis of the main nutrients showed high values for potassium and calcium in bottom ashes, but also relevant amounts of phosphorus, making them suitable as fertilizers if pollutant limits are met. Quality assurance systems should be applied at biomass heating plants to improve ash quality if wood ashes are used as fertilizers in agriculture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen Migration during Pyrolysis of Raw and Acid Leached Maize Straw
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3786; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073786 - 29 Mar 2021
Viewed by 317
Abstract
Solid biofuel is considered as a possible substitute for coal in household heat production because of the available and sustainable raw materials, while NOx emissions from its combustion have become a serious problem. Nitrogen-containing compounds in pyrolysis products have important effects on [...] Read more.
Solid biofuel is considered as a possible substitute for coal in household heat production because of the available and sustainable raw materials, while NOx emissions from its combustion have become a serious problem. Nitrogen-containing compounds in pyrolysis products have important effects on the conversion of fuel-N into NOx-N. Understanding these converting pathways is important for the environmentally friendly use of biomass fuels. The nitrogen migration during pyrolysis of raw and acid leached maize straw at various temperatures was investigated in this study. Thermal gravimetric analysis and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to investigate the performances of thermal decomposition and pyrolysis products from samples. The main nitrogen functional groups in biomass and biochar products were N-A (amine-N/amide-N/protein-N), pyridine-N, and pyrrole-N, according to the findings. The most common gaseous NOx precursor was NH3, which was produced primarily during the conversion of N-A to pyridine-N and pyrrole-N. The formation of HCN mainly came from the secondary decomposition of heterocyclic-N at high temperatures. Before the pyrolysis temperature increased to 650 °C, more than half of the fuel-N was stored in the biochar. At the same pyrolysis temperature, acid-leached maize straw yielded more gas-N and char-N than the raw biomass. The highest char-N yield of 76.39 wt% was obtained from acid-leached maize straw (AMS) pyrolysis at 350 °C. Low pyrolysis temperature and acid-leaching treatment can help to decrease nitrogen release from stable char structure, providing support for reducing nitrogenous pollutant emissions from straw fuel. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Ionic Liquid and Biomass Sources on Carbon Nanotube Physical and Electrochemical Properties
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2977; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052977 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 435
Abstract
The ongoing research toward meeting global energy demands requires novel materials from abundant renewable resources. This work involves an investigation on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (N-CNTs) synthesized from relatively low-cost and readily available biomass as carbon precursors and their use as electrodes for supercapacitors. [...] Read more.
The ongoing research toward meeting global energy demands requires novel materials from abundant renewable resources. This work involves an investigation on nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes (N-CNTs) synthesized from relatively low-cost and readily available biomass as carbon precursors and their use as electrodes for supercapacitors. The influence of the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride, or its combination with either sugarcane bagasse or cellulose (IL-CNTs, ILBag-CNTs, and ILCel-CNTs, respectively), in the synthesis of N-CNTs and the resultant effect on their physical and electrochemical properties was studied. Systematic characterizations of the N-CNTs employing transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermogravimetric analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), elemental analysis, nitrogen sorption analysis, cyclic voltammetry, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy were performed. TEM data analysis showed that the mean outer diameters decreased, in the order of IL-CNTs > ILBag-CNTs > ILCel-CNTs. The N-CNTs possess only pyridinic and pyrrolic nitrogen-doping moieties. The pyridinic nitrogen-doping content is lowest in IL-CNTs and highest in ILCel-CNTs. The N-CNTs are mesoporous with surface areas in the range of 21–52 m2 g−1. The ILCel-CNTs had the highest specific capacitance of 30 F g−1, while IL-CNTs has the least, 10 F g−1. The source of biomass is beneficial for tuning physicochemical properties such as the size and surface areas of N-CNTs, the pyridinic nitrogen-doping content, and ultimately capacitance, leading to materials with excellent properties for electrochemical applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Alkaline Fractionation and Subsequent Production of Nano-Structured Silica and Cellulose Nano-Fibrils for the Comprehensive Utilization of Rice Husk
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1951; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041951 - 11 Feb 2021
Viewed by 324
Abstract
The parameters of the alkaline fractionation process were investigated and optimized using a statistical analysis method to simultaneously remove hemicellulose and ash from rice husk (RH) concomitantly. After the alkaline fractionation process, the residual solid contained high cellulose, and the recovery yield of [...] Read more.
The parameters of the alkaline fractionation process were investigated and optimized using a statistical analysis method to simultaneously remove hemicellulose and ash from rice husk (RH) concomitantly. After the alkaline fractionation process, the residual solid contained high cellulose, and the recovery yield of hemicellulose was enhanced in the fractionated liquid hydrolyzate. The hemicellulosic sugar recovery yield (71.6%), de-ashing yield (>99%), and lignin removal (>80%) were obtained at the reaction conditions of 150 °C of temperature, 40 min of reaction time, and 6% (w/v) of NaOH concentration. Subsequently, nano-structured silica was synthesized using black liquor obtained as a by-product of this fractionation process. For the production of nano-structured silica, it was observed that the pH of a black liquor and the heat treatment temperature significantly influenced the textural properties of silica product. In addition, the two-stage bleaching of solid residue followed by colloid milling for the production of high value-added CNF with was attempted. As a result, in addition to 119 g of fermentable sugar, 143 g of high-purity (>98%) silica with a surface area of 328 m2g−1 and 273.1 g of high-functional CNF with cellulose content of 80.1% were simultaneously obtained from 1000 g of RH. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Production of Biogenic Silica from Different South African Agricultural Residues through a Thermo-Chemical Treatment Method
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020577 - 09 Jan 2021
Viewed by 420
Abstract
A thermo-chemical treatment method was used to produce biogenic amorphous silica from South African sugarcane and maize residues. Different fractions of South African sugarcane (leaves, pith, and fiber) were processed for silica production. The biomass samples were leached with either 7 wt% citric [...] Read more.
A thermo-chemical treatment method was used to produce biogenic amorphous silica from South African sugarcane and maize residues. Different fractions of South African sugarcane (leaves, pith, and fiber) were processed for silica production. The biomass samples were leached with either 7 wt% citric acid or 7 wt% sulfuric acid at 353 K for 2 h prior to being rinsed, dried and combusted using a four-step program ranging from room temperature to 873 K in a furnace. The characterization of the pre-treated biomass samples was conducted using thermogravimetric analysis (TG/DTA), X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) and elemental analysis (CHN), while the final products were characterized by XRF, X-ray diffraction (XRD), elemental analysis, nitrogen physisorption and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Citric acid pre-treatment proved to be an attractive alternative to mineral acids. Amorphous biogenic silica was produced from sugarcane leaves in good quality (0.1 wt% residual carbon and up to 99.3 wt% silica content). The produced biogenic silica also had great textural properties such as a surface area of up to 323 m2 g−1, average pore diameter of 5.0 nm, and a pore volume of 0.41 cm3 g−1. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Recent Progress on the Development of Engineered Silica Particles Derived from Rice Husk
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410683 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 700
Abstract
The development of engineered silica particles by using low-cost renewable or waste resources is a key example of sustainability. Rice husks have emerged as a renewable resource for the production of engineered silica particles as well as bioenergy. This review presents a state-of-the-art [...] Read more.
The development of engineered silica particles by using low-cost renewable or waste resources is a key example of sustainability. Rice husks have emerged as a renewable resource for the production of engineered silica particles as well as bioenergy. This review presents a state-of-the-art process for the development of engineered silica particles from rice husks via a bottom-up process. The first part of this review focuses on the extraction of Si from rice husks through combustion and chemical reactions. The second part details the technologies for synthesizing engineered silica particles using silicate obtained from rice husks. These include technologies for the precipitation of silica particles, the control of morphological properties, and the synthesis of ordered porous silica particles. Finally, several issues that need to be resolved before this process can be commercialized are addressed for future research. Full article
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