Pyrolysis and gasification of lignin and effect of alkali addition
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Lignin, a byproduct of the chemical pulping can be gasified to produce fuel gas and value-added products. Two lignins, MeadWestvaco (MWV) lignin and Sigma Aldrich (SA) lignin, were studied using two different reactors. A laminar entrained flow reactor (LEFR) was used initially to determine the effect of lignin type, temperature and residence time on char yield and fixed carbon conversion during pyrolysis and gasification. During both pyrolysis and gasification, the maximum decrease in char yield took place in the initial stage of the reaction and there was little change at longer residence times. There was not much difference between pyrolysis and gasification in the residence times obtained in the LEFR. Furthermore, a thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) was used to study the effect of lignin type on pyrolysis and gasification. The reaction rates and char yields were affected by the lignin composition. Lignin pyrolysis showed similar behavior until 600°C but only the high-ash SA lignin showed secondary pyrolysis reactions above 600°C. Carbon gasification reactions were delayed in SA lignin. Na2CO3 addition made the primary pyrolysis reaction occur at a lower rate and enhanced the rate for secondary pyrolysis reactions. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy results showed that the significant loss of spectral detail started at different temperatures for MWV lignin and SA lignin. Kinetic parameters obtained using differential and Coats - Redfern integral method were comparable at lower temperatures but varied at high temperatures. Na2CO3 addition decreased the activation energy of primary pyrolysis.