Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biological Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

Foster A. Agblevor


Foster A. Agblevor


Jixun Zhan


Ronald C. Sims


Anhong Zhou


Tom Chang


Lignocellulosic biomass refers to any plant-based organic matter including wood, forest residues, agricultural residues, etc. The catalytic pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass is a process that produces biofuels and high-value chemicals. The catalytic pyrolysis process is the thermal breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen and in the presence of a catalyst that upgrades the pyrolysis vapors as they are produced in the pyrolysis reactor. The catalyst choice depends on the desired liquid product of pyrolysis. The formulated red mud is a catalyst that consists of 60% red mud (waste material), 20% colloidal alumina, and 20% colloidal silica. This catalyst has been proven to produce high quality bio-oil and can be recycled.

The catalytic pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass has been gaining increasing attention due to its potential as a source of (1) biocrude oil that can be co-processed with petroleum crude in petroleum refineries, and (2) high-value chemicals such as levoglucosan ($1000/g). In order to control the chemical reactions taking place during the catalytic pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass, it is important to understand the contribution of its major polymers (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin) to the pyrolysis products (char, liquid, and gas). Cellulose accounts for 40-47 % of lignocellulosic biomass, therefore, it is important to study such polymer and understand its effect on the liquid yield and its quality. This dissertation provides data collected from the catalytic pyrolysis of cellulose using formulated red mud, sand, and HZSM-5 catalyst.



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