Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Biocrude production through hydro-liquefaction of wood biomass in supercritical ethanol using iron silica and iron beta zeolite catalysts

Jogi, Ramakrishna; Maki-Arvela, Paivi; Virtanen, Pasi; Kumar, Narendra; Hemming, Jarl; Smeds, Annika; Lestander, Torbjorn A.; Mikkola, Jyri-Pekka


Background In the production of biofuels from lignocellulosic material, biocrude plays a key role. The present work deals with the biocrude production through hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of birch wood in supercritical ethanol over 5 wt% Fe-H-Beta-150 (SiO2 to Al2O3 ratio of 150) or 5 wt% Fe-SiO2 catalyst. Results The liquid and solid products were characterized with various analytical techniques such as gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector (GC-FID), size exclusion chromatography (SEC), inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), powder X-ray diffraction (p-XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and solid-state carbon-13 magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (C-13-MAS-NMR), respectively. The results revealed that 5 wt% Fe-H-Beta-150, a strongly Bronsted acidic catalyst, enhanced the biocrude formation when compared with a non-acidic 5 wt% Fe-SiO2 catalyst. Hemicellulose and lignin degradation occurred resulting in formation of mainly sugars, acids-esters and phenolic compounds in the liquid phase. The gaseous atmosphere of hydrogen also enhanced the degradation of biomass. The biocrude yield from birch was 25 wt% over 5 wt% Fe-H-Beta-150. The Bronsted acidic catalyst gave higher dissolution efficiency and its clear catalytic effect was observed in comparison to non-acidic 5 wt% Fe-SiO2. The degradation level of lignin in the presence of 5 wt% Fe-H-Beta-150 was high 68 wt% aromatic products were formed, while only 38 wt% was obtained with 5 wt% Fe-SiO2. Conclusions Hydrogen atmosphere enhances the fractionation of birch wood when compared to argon atmosphere. The 5 wt% Fe-H-Beta-150 catalyst enhanced very strongly the degradation of hemicellulose and lignin in biomass to sugars and acid-esters as well as phenolic compounds, respectively, compared to the non-acidic 5 wt% Fe-SiO2 catalyst. (c) 2019 Society of Chemical Industry


birch; hydrogen atmosphere; hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL); iron supported zeolite; supercritical ethanol

Published in

Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology
2019, volume: 94, number: 11, pages: 3736-3744
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Jogi, Ramakrishna
Abo Akademi University
Maki-Arvela, Paivi
Abo Akademi University
Virtanen, Pasi
Abo Akademi University
Kumar, Narendra
Abo Akademi University
Hemming, Jarl
Abo Akademi University
Smeds, Annika
Abo Akademi University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology
Mikkola, Jyri-Pekka
Umea University
Mikkola, Jyri-Pekka
Abo Akademi University

UKÄ Subject classification


Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)