Research ArticleAPPLIED SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING

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
  • Fig. 1 Preparation route and characteristics of lignocellulosic biomass–derived bio-coal.

    (A) Schematic illustration of bio-coal preparation from lignocellulosic biomass. (B and C) Photograph and SEM image of bio-coal. (D) Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential thermal gravity (DTG) spectrum of bio-coal. (E) Mass energy densities of various coals and bio-coal. Photo credit: Bin-Hai Cheng, University of Science and Technology of China.

  • Fig. 2 Compositional change during bio-coal production.

    (A) Change in the element content during the atmospheric distillation. (B) FTIR spectra of the residues during atmospheric distillation. ADR, atmospheric distillation residue.

  • Fig. 3 Costs and benefits of producing bio-coal from lignocellulosic biomass.

    (A) System boundary for biomass to bio-coal in LCA. (B and C) LCA results covering net energy, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, and economy performances between different scenarios (positive value represents net output, while negative direction indicates net consumption). (D) Potential of bio-coal production in China. (E) Prediction of bio-coal production, GHG reduction, and financial benefit due to carbon trade in 2030 by using Monte Carlo simulation. The center lines represent median values, boxes refer to 25th to 75th percentiles, while bars represent 5th to 95th percentiles.

  • Table 1 Element analysis (weight %) and physical properties of bio-coal.

    C (%)H (%)N (%)O* (%)Bulk density
    (tons m−3)
    Volumetric energy
    density (GJ m−3)
    Bio-oil34.758.041.2855.93
    Bio-coal64.825.881.1127.420.67417.14

    *By difference.

    • Table 2 Contents of heavy metals in the bio-coal (weight %).

      ND, not detected.

      Metal speciesCdPbCuCrZnMnNi
      Amount0.000030.0008ND0.000530.002110.01002ND
    • Table 3 Production and element composition of the bio-coals.

      BiomassBio-coal yield
      (%)
      C (%)H (%)N (%)S (%)O* (%)Mass energy
      density
      (MJ kg−1)
      Rice husk45.264.825.881.110.7727.4225.4
      Saw dust37.270.405.850.160.6222.9728.0
      Wheat33.969.826.051.280.5122.3428.2
      Bagasse41.867.655.710.230.3726.0426.3
      Soybean34.367.136.481.550.4424.4027.6

      *By difference.

      Supplementary Materials

      • Supplementary material for this article is available at http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/6/1/eaay0748/DC1

        Table S1. Consumptions in thermal process.

        Table S2. Prices of the bio-chemicals (found in the quotes online).

        Table S3. Prices of products of the system-B (US$/dry rice husk metric ton).

        Table S4. Estimated available biomass residues (Qar) and bio-coal (Qbc) amount (million tons).

        Table S5. Ultimate and proximate analyses of rice husk (weight %, on dry basis).

        Table S6. Ultimate analyses of products of fast pyrolysis.

        Fig. S1. SEM images of the bio-coal derived from rice husk.

        Fig. S2. Photographs of the five typical biomass wastes used in this work.

        Fig. S3. FTIR spectra of the five bio-coals derived from the typical biomass wastes.

        Fig. S4. Compositional variations of products after atmospheric distillation.

      • Supplementary Materials

        This PDF file includes:

        • Table S1. Consumptions in thermal process.
        • Table S2. Prices of the bio-chemicals (found in the quotes online).
        • Table S3. Prices of products of the system-B (US$/dry rice husk metric ton).
        • Table S4. Estimated available biomass residues (Qar) and bio-coal (Qbc) amount (million tons).
        • Table S5. Ultimate and proximate analyses of rice husk (weight %, on dry basis).
        • Table S6. Ultimate analyses of products of fast pyrolysis.
        • Fig. S1. SEM images of the bio-coal derived from rice husk.
        • Fig. S2. Photographs of the five typical biomass wastes used in this work.
        • Fig. S3. FTIR spectra of the five bio-coals derived from the typical biomass wastes.
        • Fig. S4. Compositional variations of products after atmospheric distillation.

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