The effect of wood composition and supercritical CO2 extraction on charcoal production in ferroalloy industries

Gerrit Ralf Surup, Andrew J. Hunt, Thomas Attard, Vitaliy L. Budarin, Fredrik Forsberg, Mehrdad Arshadi, Victor Abdelsayed, Dushyant Shekhawat, Anna Trubetskaya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work demonstrates that the integration of supercritical carbon dioxide extraction with slow pyrolysis is an effective method for the production of value-added chemicals and charcoal that is an attractive alternative to coke for industry. Integration of technologies is key for the development of holistic biorefineries that exploit all parts of the biomass feedstock and generate little or ideally no waste. In fact, the use of waste or low valued wood fractions is attractive due to their plentiful abundance and lack of exploitation. Supercritical carbon dioxide has been demonstrated to be effective at the removal of over half of extractives from low quality wood and forestry wastes, which can account for up to 11 wt %, of the dried biomass in waste needles. High extractive yields by supercritical carbon dioxide extraction illustrates the potential of utilizing low quality wood as an alternative feedstock for the sustainable production of value-added chemicals. High yields of steroids and derivatives, terpenes and other plant metabolites were obtained in the extracts of needles, branches and bark. Importantly, supercritical carbon dioxide extraction had little impact neither on the physical properties of original wood nor on the yield of solid charcoal. This indicates that extraction by supercritical carbon dioxide can be used as a method for adding further value to the process by removal of bio-based chemicals, whilst still maintaining the yield of the solid fuel product. Moreover, the heat treatment temperature and supercritical carbon dioxide extraction had a significant impact on the tar yields during pyrolysis, leading to an increase in naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, aromatic and phenolic fractions with greater temperature. These results are promising as they show that the charcoal obtained from this renewable feedstock could be used as an alternative to fossil-based coke in applications including ferroalloy industries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116696
Number of pages14
Early online date16 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2020


  • biorefinery
  • pyrolysis
  • solid fuels
  • sterols
  • supercritical

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