Conference Dates

June 19-24, 2016


Agricultural crop residues are a source of inexpensive biomass to convert into bioproducts. The recovery of valuable chemicals from plant waste would partly solve the disposal issue and offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic chemical production. One approach to separate and concentrate valuable chemicals from biomass is pyrolysis using a batch reactor process. A mechanically fluidized reactor (MFR) was developed to pyrolyze biomass from ambient to temperatures near 600 °C, forming gases that are then condensed in an ice-chilled condenser to form a bio-oil. The bio-oil produced by the MFR can be separated within temperature ranges, termed one-dimensional or 1-D pyrolysis. Further separation of bio-oil can be achieved by two condensers, one set at a high and one at a low temperature, to isolate the gases by boiling point, termed two-dimensional or 2-D pyrolysis. The biomass investigated, tobacco leaf, tomato plant, spent coffee ground, and hydrolysis and organosolv lignin, were chosen based on availability and the valuable products previously identified in the bio-oil. After 2-D MFR pyrolysis, a total nicotine recovery of 90% from tobacco bio-oil compared to solvent extraction was obtained when the nicotine concentration was 20%. Both the tobacco and tomato bio-oils could be separated through the 2-D MFR to isolate fractions with high insecticide activity, and the antioxidant concentration in the tomato and organosolv lignin bio-oil was 97 and 91%, respectively. In summary, valuable products including pesticides, antioxidants and activated carbon can be recovered from crop waste by MFR pyrolysis demonstrating a successful example of a biorefinery, a sustainable process for converting biomass into a range of bio-based products.