Honors Theses

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Wei-Yin Chen

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Slow pyrolysis biochar has been shown to be receptive to ultrasonic and photochemical pretreatment that raises the heating value, surface area, and carbon content of the samples. This experiment was designed to test the feasibility of substituting fast pyrolysis derived biochar in place of slow pyrolysis biochars in order to reduce production times. Furthermore, new biomasses (switchgrass, rice husk, and rice straw) were tested for their receptiveness to pretreatment methods. It was ultimately determined that fast pyrolysis biochars that were exposed to pretreatment increased their carbon content and surface area but did not experience a heating value increase to the same degree as slow pyrolysis biochars. It was hypothesized that this was due to the presence of oxygen in the reactor that produced the chars, a condition atypical in pyrolysis reactors that might have led to side reactions during pyrolysis that prevented improvements from heating value to take place.

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