Batch Aqueous-phase Reforming of Lignocellulosic Biomass for Hydrogen Production
Valenzuela, Mariefel Bayta
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Aqueous-phase reforming (APR) is reported for the first time for the production of H2 from actual biomass. The experiments are carried out in batch using a 100mL Parr microreactor heated to 225C. In this one-pot, two-step process, acid hydrolysis is used to break down the polymeric constituents of biomass to smaller soluble molecules and these species are reformed using a Pt/Al2O3 catalyst. The experiments show that increasing the acid concentration from 1% to 5% causes more than a twelve-fold increase in H2 concentration, with hydrogen a minor product accounting for 18% of the non-condensable gas phase and CO2 as the major product. In the presence of the Pt/Al2O3 reforming catalyst, both the selectivity and yield of hydrogen in the gas phase increase. This is accompanied by a noticeable decrease in carbon monoxide production. Comparison with other feeds such as glucose, wastepaper and ethylene glycol showed that the amount of hydrogen produced from biomass is of a comparable magnitude per gram of feed, although biomass yields more hydrogen per gram of carbohydrate than either glucose or wastepaper. Baseline experiments with only the catalysts in the absence of any biomass show no increase in the reactor system pressure when only water and helium are present, indicating that the observed hydrogen produced is sourced form the biomass.