Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering Science

Department

Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Wei-Yin Chen

Second Advisor

Clint W. Williford

Third Advisor

Ajit Sadana

Abstract

With interest in the changes that may occur to the carbonaceous portion of biochar obtain through the pyrolysis of biomass, the simple interaction between CO2 and biochar with water or a mixture of water and ethanol as hydrogen donor resulted in three significant observations. These reactions were carried out thermally at 333K and photochemically by simulating energy from the sun with a xenon lamp. The photochemical reaction involving biochar, CO2 with water or a mixture of water and ethanol as hydrogen donor led to a decrease in oxygen content of the parent biochar material, as observed by an increase in the H/O and C/O ratios of the product material, and a 20 percent increase in heating value. This being suggestive of photo-reduction as assisted by TiO2 or silicates present in biochar could be modeled by an aryl lactone present in the complex chemical structure of biochar. FTIR spectra of the product material obtained after the thermal treatment was also suggestive of carboxylation reaction occurring as modeled by the phenol and diaryl ether present in the complex structure of biochar. Finally this simple process resulted in a significant increase in the surface area of the treated materials compared to the parent material.

Concentration/Emphasis

Emphasis: Chemical Engineering

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