Understanding the suitability of different conversion technologies for different types of biomass feedstocks is crucial in delivering the full valorisation of different types of biomass feedstocks. Optimal valorisation pathways can be identified by investigating the formation of products and the most efficient application technologies of these products. This is therefore novel research reporting an extensive comparative study on the biomass processing pathways (hydrothermal conversion, pyrolysis, and torrefaction) for three distinct biomass feedstocks (Rapeseed residue, Whitewood, Seaweed–Laminaria Digitata) to optimise char formation under a wide range of processing conditions and their biofuel characteristics in the bioenergy applications. The results demonstrates that Whitewood gradually decomposes during all three conversion processes to produce chars (hydrochars/biochars) that have a lower O/C-H/C ratio as process temperature increases. The char formation from Whitewood follows the dehydration process in the Van Krevelen diagram. Char formation from Rapeseed residue and L. digitata via pyrolysis also follows a similar dehydration and demethanation pathway at higher temperatures (550 °C for Rapeseed residue and 400 °C for L. digitata). However, char formation from Rapeseed residue and L. digitata via hydrothermal conversion predominantly follows the decarboxylation pathway producing structures with a higher H/C ratio and lower O/C ratio. The intrinsic reactivity analysis of these chars showed that the temperature of initial weight loss and the onset of ignition for the raw biomass sample was shifted to a higher temperature for the chars produced by hydrothermal conversion or pyrolysis, regardless of biomass feedstocks. The chars produced from Whitewood (with hydrothermal conversion, pyrolysis and torrefaction) and Rapeseed residue (with pyrolysis) have a potential application in bioenergy production due to the significant enhancement of char products. However, the chars produced from L. digitata appear less promising for bioenergy applications due to relatively low energy yield, carbon recovery, inferior char structures and a high inherent ash content.
Gulec, F., Samson, A., Williams, O., Kostas, E. T., & Lester, E. (2022). Biofuel characteristics of chars produced from rapeseed, whitewood, and seaweed via thermal conversion technologies – Impacts of feedstocks and process conditions. Fuel Processing Technology, 238, Article 107492. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fuproc.2022.107492