Controllable production of liquid and solid biofuels by doping-free, microwave-assisted, pressurised pyrolysis of hemicellulose

T. Li, J. Remón, P. S. Shuttleworth, Z. Jiang, J. Fan, J. H. Clark, V. L. Budarin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Batch, pressurised microwave-assisted pyrolysis of hemicellulose in the absence of any external microwave absorber was found to be a promising route for the production of bio-based chemicals and biofuels. The experiments were conducted in a 10 mL batch reactor using a fixed power of 200 W employing different initial masses of xylan (0.1–0.7 g) for a maximum time, temperature and pressure of 10 min, 250 °C and 200 psi, respectively. The gas, bio-oil and solid (char) yields varied by 16–40%, 2–21% and 40–82%, respectively. Char production is preferential using a low amount of xylan (<0.25 g), while bio-oil production is favoured using a high amount of xylan (0.25–0.7 g). The effect of the sample mass is accounted for by the different physical state of the volatiles released during pyrolysis depending on the pressure attained during the experiment. This permits the process to be easily customised for the selective production of liquid (bio-oil) or solid (bio-char). Regarding the bio-oil, it is composed of a mixture of platform chemicals such as aldehydes, alkenes, phenols, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHC), cyclic ketones and furans, with the composition varying depending on the initial mass of xylan. The char had a higher proportion of C together with a lower proportion of O than the original feedstock. Energy efficiencies of 100 and 26% were achieved for char and bio-oil production, respectively; thus leading to an increase in the HHV of the products (with respect to the original feedstock) of 52% for char and 19% for bio-oil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-113
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date22 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

©2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Bio-char
  • Bio-oil
  • Hemicellulose
  • Microwave
  • Pyrolysis

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