Bio-coal: A renewable and massively producible fuel from lignocellulosic biomass

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Science Advances  03 Jan 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 1, eaay0748
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay0748


Development of renewable energy is essential to mitigating the fossil fuel shortage and climate change issues. Here, we propose to produce a new type of energy, bio-coal, via a fast pyrolysis coupled with atmospheric distillation process. The high heating values of the as-prepared bio-coals from the representative biomass are within 25.4 to 28.2 MJ kg−1, which are comparable to that of the commercial coals. Life cycle assessment further shows that the bio-coal production process could achieve net positive energy, financial, and environmental benefits. By using available biomass wastes as feedstock, China is expected to have a total bio-coal production of 402 million tons of standard coal equivalent, which is equal to 13% of national coal consumption. It would grant China an opportunity to additionally cut 738 million tons of CO2 emission by substituting an equal amount of coal with bio-coal in 2030.

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