Master of Science (MS)


Chemical Engineering

Document Type



The separation of pyrolysis bio-oil is important for its role in upgrading oil quality and acquiring commercial byproducts. A selective separation method for biopyrolysis liquids is developed in this work. Two parts in succession are involved as the first one aims at selectively removing some of the heaviest fractions from bio-oil. Chromatographic adsorption results show that Class C Fly ash and pyrolysis Bio-char have potential for this goal at <300 ºC, byproduct like combined adsorbates / adsorbents could also be used directly in asphalt cement processes. Thereafter, the second part focuses on adsorbing light fractions like lighter acids and aldehydes selectively. Basic (modified) activated carbons display relatively low selectivity at ~250ºC, but they have better selectivity compared to unmodified activated carbons. Thus some carbon-coated mesoporous silica and alumina materials are also prepared for the adsorption of these light compounds in the future. The combination of the two parts of adsorptions would leave behind a middle distillate fraction which is the bio-oil fraction most amenable to catalytic upgrading, to either a fuel or chemical feedstock.



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Committee Chair

Dooley, Kerry