Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Energy & Fuels

Publication Date



American Chemical Society






Biomass feedstocks contain inorganic compounds generally classified as ash. The ash consists of compounds of potassium, calcium, magnesium, silicon, phosphorus. and other elements. These elements have been reported to influence both the pyrolysis reactions as well as the destabilization of the pyrolysis oils during storage. The inorganic elements have also been reported to deposit on catalyst surfaces during in situ catalytic pyrolysis leading to the eventual deactivation of acidic catalysts such as zeolites. The deposition of inorganic elements and their effects on formulated red mud (FRM) catalyst during in situ catalytic pyrolysis of pinyon juniper wood was investigated. The inorganic elements were measured for the fresh, coked, and regenerated catalysts. The BET specific surface area of the FRM catalyst decreased from 76 m2/g for the fresh catalyst to 53 m2/g for the stable regenerated catalyst. After three regenerations, the BET specific surface area stabilized at 53 m2/g and remained constant after all other regenerations. Potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus were deposited on the catalyst. Potassium deposition was linear with the number of regenerations while magnesium and calcium depositions were initially rapid but leveled-off after three regenerations of the catalyst. Phosphorus deposition was almost linear, but the data were more scattered compared to that of potassium. The potassium deposition was attributed to physical phenomenon whereas calcium and magnesium depositions were more akin to chemical reactions related to the loss of BET surface area of the catalyst. The deposition of these elements on the surface of the catalyst did not deactivate it. After each catalyst regeneration, the oil yield was not significantly affected and the oil oxygen content and viscosity decreased slightly. This clearly showed that formulated red mud is a robust catalyst suitable for in situ catalytic fast pyrolysis of biomass.

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This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Energy & Fuels, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see



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