Title

A Systematic Investigation into the Hydrothermal Degradation of Biomass as an Alternative Hydrocarbon Fuel Source

Presenter Information

Megan Oldroyd

Department

Chemistry

Major

Chemistry and Applied Mathematics

Research Advisor

Woelk, Klaus

Advisor's Department

Chemistry

Funding Source

Missouri S&T Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) Program; MS&T Energy Research and Development Center

Abstract

Biomass is viewed as a renewable and carbon-efficient energy source, and multiple procedures have been designed to harness the energy stored in these molecules. In this study, the mechanism of hydrothermal biomass degradation to form valuable synthetic-fuel precursor molecules was investigated. Using D-glucose as the model substrate, hydrothermal degradation experiments were conducted in a glass pressure vessel with samples taken periodically at a reaction temperature of 150°C. The primary reaction products are 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), formic acid (FA), 4-oxopentoic acid (levulenic acid or LA), and methane, as identified quantitatively by 1H-NMR spectroscopy. As a continuation of a previous project, this study determined the effect of various catalysts on the formation of the degradation products in an attempt to identify methods of maximizing the formation of 5-HMF, the more valuable precursor chemical for synthetic fuel production, while minimizing FA and LA. The unprecedented formation of methane is also being investigated to determine its mechanism of production during the hydrothermal degradation reaction. Furthermore, it is the goal of this project to investigate the reduction of 5-HMF via electrolysis in order to demonstrate complete production of synthetic fuel.

Biography

Megan Oldroyd is a senior double majoring in Chemistry and Applied Math, with a minor in Biology. This is her third year to be participating in the OURE program at Missouri S&T. After graduating in May, Megan plans to attend graduate school in the fall, working towards a PhD in Biophysics.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Award

Sciences oral presentation, First place

Location

Carver Room

Presentation Date

07 Apr 2010, 9:30 am - 10:00 am

Comments

Joint project with Nathan Carter

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Apr 7th, 9:30 AM Apr 7th, 10:00 AM

A Systematic Investigation into the Hydrothermal Degradation of Biomass as an Alternative Hydrocarbon Fuel Source

Carver Room

Biomass is viewed as a renewable and carbon-efficient energy source, and multiple procedures have been designed to harness the energy stored in these molecules. In this study, the mechanism of hydrothermal biomass degradation to form valuable synthetic-fuel precursor molecules was investigated. Using D-glucose as the model substrate, hydrothermal degradation experiments were conducted in a glass pressure vessel with samples taken periodically at a reaction temperature of 150°C. The primary reaction products are 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), formic acid (FA), 4-oxopentoic acid (levulenic acid or LA), and methane, as identified quantitatively by 1H-NMR spectroscopy. As a continuation of a previous project, this study determined the effect of various catalysts on the formation of the degradation products in an attempt to identify methods of maximizing the formation of 5-HMF, the more valuable precursor chemical for synthetic fuel production, while minimizing FA and LA. The unprecedented formation of methane is also being investigated to determine its mechanism of production during the hydrothermal degradation reaction. Furthermore, it is the goal of this project to investigate the reduction of 5-HMF via electrolysis in order to demonstrate complete production of synthetic fuel.