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Production of renewable fuels by blending bio-oil with alcohols and upgrading under supercritical conditions


The work studied a non-catalytic upgrading of fast pyrolysis bio-oil by blending under supercritical conditions using methanol, ethanol and isopropanol as solvent and hydrogen donor. Characterisation of the bio-oil and the upgraded bio-oils was carried out including moisture content, elemental content, pH, heating value, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS), Fourier transform infrared radiation, 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis to evaluate the effects of blending and supercritical reactions. The GCMS analysis indicated that the supercritical methanol reaction removed the acids in the bio-oil consequently the pH increased from 2.39 in the crude bio-oil to 4.04 after the supercritical methanol reaction. The ester contents increased by 87.49% after the supercritical methanol reaction indicating ester formation could be the major deacidification mechanism for reducing the acidity of the bio-oil and improving its pH value. Simply blending crude bio-oil with isopropanol was effective in increasing the C and H content, reducing the O content and increasing the heating value to 27.55 from 17.51 MJ·kg−1 in the crude bio-oil. After the supercritical isopropanol reaction, the heating value of the liquid product slightly further increased to 28.85 MJ·kg−1.


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The authors acknowledge the financial support received from Aston University, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry department.

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Correspondence to Jiawei Wang.

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Omar, S., Alsamaq, S., Yang, Y. et al. Production of renewable fuels by blending bio-oil with alcohols and upgrading under supercritical conditions. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng. 13, 702–717 (2019).

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  • bio-oil
  • blending
  • supercritical
  • upgrading
  • characterisation